Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Famine fear won't sway minds on GM crops

Date:
June 11, 2014
Source:
Cornell University
Summary:
Stories of how genetically modified (GM) crops could have prevented the Irish Potato Famine were no more likely to boost support for disease-resistant genetically modified crops than were generic crop-disease descriptions. "If you think genetically modified crops are dangerous 'frankenfoods' and/or that crop disease is best controlled with chemicals, plaintive tales of historical famines won't change your mind about genetic modification for disease resistance," one researcher said.

A sack-hauling time traveler from the 21st century lands in an Irish potato field in 1849, just before a terrible famine, and asks: If you thought genetically modified potatoes could avert late blight disease, spare a million countrymen from starvation and keep another million from emigrating off the Emerald Isle, would you plant these newfangled spuds?

Fast forward to the Internet Age, when communication researchers ran 859 U.S. grocery shoppers through a similar thought experiment: Half the subjects in an online survey read the story of the 1850s Irish Potato Famine, learning the potential impact of fungal Phytophthora infestans on potato and tomato crops today. The other 400-plus pondered generic plant disease, with no mention of specific crops or historic famines.

"Stories of the Irish Potato Famine were no more likely to boost support for disease-resistant genetically modified crops than were our generic crop-disease descriptions," said Katherine A. McComas, professor and chair of Cornell's Department of Communication in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

"Preconceived views about risks and benefits of agricultural genetic engineering -- and perceptions about the fairness and legitimacy of the decision-making process -- these things matter most," McComas said.

With co-authors John C. Besley (Michigan State University) and Joseph Steinhardt (Cornell), McComas will publish study results as "Factors influencing U.S. consumer support for genetic modification to prevent crop disease" in the July 2014 journal Appetite -- right about the time airborne P. infestansspores are drifting through home-garden tomato crops.

"If you think genetically modified crops are dangerous 'frankenfoods' and/or that crop disease is best controlled with chemicals -- if you suspect federal regulators care more about Big Ag's interests than your family's, thus the whole game is rigged -- plaintive tales of historical famines won't change your mind about genetic modification for disease resistance," McComas said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cornell University. The original article was written by Melissa Osgood. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Katherine A. McComas, John C. Besley, Joseph Steinhardt. Factors influencing U.S. consumer support for genetic modification to prevent crop disease. Appetite, 2014; 78: 8 DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2014.02.006

Cite This Page:

Cornell University. "Famine fear won't sway minds on GM crops." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140611170901.htm>.
Cornell University. (2014, June 11). Famine fear won't sway minds on GM crops. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140611170901.htm
Cornell University. "Famine fear won't sway minds on GM crops." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140611170901.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins