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sity. Policies about transgenic crops are influenced by a number of factors, including public attitudes toward the crops, and, Hallman said, public attitudes depend on factors other than scientific ones.

“From a social-psychological perspective, why monitor?” he asked. “One of the answers is that the public wants us to. Even if there is nothing there, monitoring sends the signal that we take this seriously enough to make sure that nothing bad will happen—that we don't expect something bad to happen, but we want to make sure. We take this seriously.”

Thus, according to Hallman, even if genetically modified crops pose no greater threat to the environment than conventional crops, there remains a reason to treat the transgenic crops differently. The public sees them as something different—and potentially more dangerous—and rigorous monitoring can help to reassure members of the public that scientists are being careful to safeguard them.

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