Can Scientists Convince the Public to Accept CRISPR and Gene Drives?

In 1999 Robert Shapiro, then head of Monsanto, gave a stunning mea culpa at a Greenpeace conference in London. Monsanto’s first genetically engineered (GE) crops had been on the market for only three years, but they were facing fierce public backlash. After a botched rollout marred by lack of transparency, the company, Shapiro said, had responded with debate instead of dialogue. “Our confidence in this technology… has widely been seen, and understandably so, as condescension or indeed arrogance,” he said. “Because we thought it was our job to persuade, too often we’ve forgotten to listen.”

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