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Public Perceptions of Agricultural Biotechnology

Center project staff: Thomas H. Murray, Lori P. Knowles, Daniel Callahan

Funder: The Rockefeller Foundation

Proponents tout agricultural biotechnology as the next step in the evolution of agricultural efficiency. Producers and supports offer several major arguments on its behalf, such as engineering plants to be disease and pest resistant and thus cut down on the use of pesticides, to produce proteins more efficiently, or to maximize consumer preferences in taste and overall appeal. Despite these actual or ostensible benefits, agricultural biotechnology has generated considerable controversy in Europe, but much less in the United States. This project endeavored to provide greater understanding of American and European perceptions of and responses to agricultural biotechnology and to offer a constructive framework for ongoing public debate and policy formulation.