[15 January/The Country]

A recent survey of US adults reported that those in extreme opposition of genetically modified (GM) foods actually know the least about the technology, but think they know the most. The University of Colorado study reported that as extremity of GM foods increased, the amount of knowledge about science and genetics decreased, but the perception of how much they thought they knew increased. The same pattern was also found in surveys conducted in France and Germany, but the researchers did not find the same pattern held when it came to knowledge and attitudes about climate change. Researchers said GM foods were judged by the majority of scientists to be as safe for human consumption as conventionally grown foods, and had the potential to provide substantial benefits to humankind.  Benefits include increased nutritional content, higher yield per acre, better shelf life and crop disease resistance. Self-assessed knowledge was a strong predictor of attitudes, and people tended to be poor judges of how much they knew.