There is a marked gap between a technical understanding of biotechnology and how that is translated to layman. In many cases, the negative stigma may be resolved when well summarized facts of the outcomes of scientific research are presented. In the very least, it will allow the masses to make wise, informed decisions about the support or opposition regarding applications of scientific research.
Many layman feel fear towards scientific advancement because they do not understand what has been discovered or achieved. Technical jargon so loved by scientists, make the contents in effect a foreign language to the non-scientist. When explained in simpler terms and common language, the layman does not have difficulty grasping the concepts and most often gets excited, interested and supportive about a topic that they may have previously considered controversial or ethically questionable.
Skewed public misunderstanding fuelled by propaganda of motivated groups and based on large amounts of misinformation can stymie some potentially useful scientific progress.
Take for example stem cell research, the biggest controversy seems to lay in the source of the stem cells from embryonic tissues. In fact, many stem cells may not be derived from controversial sources. Scientists are making great strides to develop techniques to undifferentiated or reprogram cells. They use their knowledge of cell signalling pathways to reverse engineer differentiated cells into stem cells. In 2012 Sir John B. Gurdon, and Shinya Yamanaka were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent. These in vitro (petri dish) derived stem cells hold endless possibilities for spinal cord injury, organ transplant, HIV/AIDS, sickle cell disease and cancer. The development of stem cell derived therapies may in fact reduce less desirable or ethically unpalatable methods in use for these conditions at present.
The flip side of course is that a greater public understanding will also raise well warranted ethical concerns in some areas. This is also a welcome result! Properly educating people on biomedical advancements will ultimately result in appropriate ethics legislation. The bottom line is that we need to educate the masses so that they can make informed and effective choices. Plus science is fascinating, it is a shame not to share it.