Silent majority? Most Americans may embrace biotech, but vocal anti-GMO minority dominates the conversation

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This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

[Citrus greening disease] is threatening to topple the multibillion-dollar citrus industry in the U.S. by infecting millions of acres of orchards….

[S]cientists are exploring the possibility of breeding genetically modified trees that are resistant to the disease. But….scientists need to know whether….shoppers will buy and consume GM citrus fruit.

A recent study….provides some encouraging answers….About half of the 1,050 people who responded to the survey had positive attitudes toward GM science, the researchers found. Nearly 37 percent of the consumers surveyed felt neutral about GM science….

[P]eople surveyed who rejected GM science were more likely to express their opinion when they believed others held the opposite view. But people with positive feelings about GM technology were less likely to speak out when they believed others supported it too.

Related article:  African media urged to consider ‘national interest’ in reporting on GMOs

“The way others express their attitude has an indirect effect on what our attitude ends up being,” said University of Illinois agricultural communications professor Taylor K. Ruth. “….[I]f other people aren’t vocalizing their opinions, we don’t know that others out there are like-minded.

“Then we start to think ‘Well, maybe I should realign my attitude to what I’m seeing in the media.’ What we see in the media is just reflective of the most dominant voice in the conversation, not necessarily the majority opinion….”

Read full, original article: Future of US citrus may hinge on consumer acceptance of genetically modified food

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