Perceptions, knowledge and ethical concerns with GM foods and the GM process.
Knight, Andrew J
Public understanding of science (Bristol, England) 2009 Mar ; 18(2): 177-88
Compared to their European counterparts, the American public has been characterized as relatively unknowledgeable and indifferent about genetically modified foods. To evaluate these claims, six focus groups were held in three Arkansas cities to: (1) determine the extent of knowledge the public possesses about genetically modified foods; (2) detail perceived benefits and risks associated with agricultural biotechnology applications; and (3) explore lay perceptions about the genetic modification process itself. Participants demonstrated partial knowledge, and tended to overestimate the number of genetically modified foods. However, participants tended to be familiar with debates surrounding benefits, risks and moral issues associated with agricultural biotechnology applications. Findings also showed that while participants were not overly concerned about combining genes between plants, they were concerned about inserting animal genes into plants. If these results are any indication, moral and ethical issues will dominate any discussion of foods derived from a mixture of animal and plant genes.
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