FeatureEvidence in Action

Genetic divide

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Science  10 Feb 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6325, pp. 572
DOI: 10.1126/science.355.6325.572-a

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How much evidence is enough evidence? When it comes to genetically modified (GM) organisms, the answer depends on where you live—and what it is. In the United States and Canada, for example, farmers, consumers, and regulators have been largely persuaded by studies showing that GM crops and foods are safe to eat and pose little risk to the environment. Chinese officials are taking a similar stance. In Europe and India, however, policymakers and the public remain skeptical. Why the variation? Scholars have fingered an array of factors, including trade policies; public trust in regulators, advocacy groups, and agribusiness; the tenor of media coverage; and levels of scientific literacy. But no single factor, they say, explains it all.