Lay and scientific categorizations of new breeding techniques: Implications for food policy and genetically modified organism legislation

Type Article
Date 2020-07
Language English
Author(s) Debucquet Gervaise1, Baron RegisORCID2, Cardinal MireilleORCID3
Affiliation(s) 1 : AUDENCIA Business School, France
2 : Unité Biotechnologies et Ressources Marines, IFREMER, Rue de l’Ile d’Yeu, France
3 : Laboratoire Ecosystèmes Microbiens et Molécules Marines pour les Biotechnologies (EM3B), IFREMER, Rue de l’Ile d’Yeu, France
Source Public Understanding Of Science (0963-6625) (SAGE Publications), 2020-07 , Vol. 29 , N. 5 , P. 524-543
DOI 10.1177/0963662520929668
Keyword(s) food policy, genetically modified organism regulation, genetically modified organisms, lay categorization, new breeding techniques, and public understanding
Abstract

The rapid development of new genetic breeding techniques is accompanied by a polarized debate around their risks. Research on the public perception of these techniques lags behind scientific developments. This study tests a method for revealing laypeople’s perceptions and attitudes about different genetic techniques. The objectives are to enable laypeople to understand the key principles of new genetic breeding techniques and to permit a comparison of their modes of classification with those of scientific experts. The combined method of a free sorting task and focus groups showed that the participants distinguished the techniques that did not induce any change in DNA sequence, and applied two different logics to classify the other breeding techniques: a Cartesian logic and a naturalistic logic with a distinct set of values. The lay categorization differed substantially from current scientific categorizations of genetic breeding techniques. These findings have implications for food innovation policy and genetically modified organism legislation.

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