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Keywords:

  • biotechnology;
  • genetic engineering;
  • consumer attitudes;
  • genetically modified organisms (GMOs)

ABSTRACT: Although response to biotechnology by United States consumer is positive, many know little about it, and some question risks and benefits. This project evaluated how science-based information affects community leaders' attitudes. A videotape providing a consistent message was developed and shown in 1995 to 365 California and Indiana consumers who then participated in a discussion and completed questionnaires. Providing a realistic perspective of the risks and benefits associated with biotechnology reinforced consumers' positive attitudes and enhanced their regard for the participating university. After the program, those believing that biotechnology offers society many benefits increased from 33% to 63%. A minority of consumers viewed biotechnology negatively, uncertain about cross-species transfer and unexpected changes.