How Natural Is “More Natural”? The Role of Method, Type of Transfer, and Familiarity for Public Perceptions of Cisgenic and Transgenic Modification

Nicole Kronberger, Wolfgang Wagner, Motohiko Nagata

A frequent expert assumption is that the public will consider cisgenics more “natural” and therefore more acceptable than transgenics. Experimental (Studies 1 and 2) and representative survey (Eurobarometer) data highlight that public concerns indeed are stronger when the boundaries of species are crossed. However, genetic combinations that could come into existence naturally are not always considered unproblematic. Human intervention in the process amplifies concern while familiarity with the method and its products explains little of the variance. Although cisgenics is more supported than transgenics, a majority of respondents across countries considers cisgenic products to be genetically modified food that must be labeled.

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