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Crop Biotech Update

Evaluating European Consumer's WTP for Cisgenic and Transgenic Rice

May 20, 2015

Cisgenesis and transgenesis are both plant breeding techniques used in introducing a gene in a plant genome. The only difference is that cisgenesis uses a gene from a crossable plant while transgenesis uses a gene from a non-plant organism. Crops bred cisgenically or transgenically are considered genetically modified organism (GMO) in European Union, requiring their mandatory labeling. Hence, a team of international researchers led by Lawton L. Nalley from Ghent University conducted a study to evaluate the European consumers' willingness-to-pay (WTP) for cisgenic or transgenic crops.

The study was conducted by employing an online survey with a total of 3,002 participants from Belgium, France, and the Netherlands. In the experiment the transgenically or cisgenically bred rice are labeled as GM, cisgenic, with environmental benefits or combinations of any of these three attributes.

The results of their study show that European consumers has a significantly higher WTP to a avoid rice labeled as GM compared to rice labeled as cisgenic indicating that the process of cisgenesis is more acceptable. In addition, French consumers have higher WTP in consuming rice labeled with environmental benefits compared to conventional rice. These findings indicate that European consumers have different perceptions in GMOs and will help in further developing GMO labeling and trade policies.

Read full details of the study at PLoS ONE's website.