An online experiment involving participants from the United Kingdom (UK)
and Switzerland was able to identify factors that affected the public's
acceptance of products derived from genetic modification(GM) andgenome
editing. To improve people's perceptions and acceptance, risk
communication must be conducted to dispel uncertainty about innovative
The experiment involved 995 participants from the UK and Switzerland who
were presented with the topic of food biotechnology focusing on
experimentally varied vignettes on transgenic and GM, and genome
editing. Results showed that general and personal acceptance of the
technologies were affected by the participants' belief that the
technology is beneficial, how they perceive scientific uncertainty, and
their country of residence. Specifically, the findings are:
* UK participants are more supportive of biotechnology than Swiss
participants as a partial result of the continuous prolonged
moratorium in Switzerland that prohibits the use of GM organisms in
agriculture. After reading the definition, the Swiss participants'
definition of "food biotechnology" was negatively affected by the
frequent mention of "organic farming" and "eco products," while
participants from the UK strongly associated "food biotechnology"
* Genome editing was more accepted than genetic modification by both
groups because the former was described as more precise than the
latter. Thus, science communicators must focus on explaining the
different technologies in terms of precision, along with ethical
considerations to familiarity and terminology, to discourage
rejection among consumers.
* Acceptance of novelty food is influenced by perceived relevant
personal or societal benefits. More research on the role of benefit
perceptions in consumer acceptance is recommended.
* Lastly, communicating the usefulness of gene technology may be a
more successful strategy to improve perception and acceptance
compared to focusing on safety and negligible risk.
Genome-edited versus genetically-modified tomatoes: an experiment on
peopleā??s perceptions and acceptance of food biotechnology in the UK and
Switzerland | SpringerLink