Author: Carmelo Polino, Centro Redes, Argentina

Co-authors: Myriam García Rodríguez

The importance of biotechnology in the economy and society is growing an its social effects more visible. Argentina has a strong scientific and technological tradition in biotechnology as well as agro-biotechnology quickly allowed the development of a new economic agricultural paradigm. The country is for example one of the major producers of transgenic soybean in the world. However, there is little actualized empirical evidence about the public acceptance of biotechnology in general, and on genetically modified organisms in particular. This presentation focuses on the structure of public attitudes regarding different applications of food biotechnology from a recent nationally representative survey of the urban adult population. We evaluate news sources and trust in different social agents. We also examine the perceived benefits and risks of biotechnology applied to food and study the composition of attitudes with respect to the development of specific biotechnological applications used in vegetables and animals. We analyse eventual public attitudes on buying genetically modified food as well. Through multivariate models we segment the population into groups of acceptance-rejection and study the effect of socio-demographic variables as predictors of these attitudes.