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Crop Biotech Update

Australian OGTR Releases Report on 2017 Study of Public Attitudes about GMOs, Gene Technology and its Regulation

November 22, 2017

The office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) of Australia has released "Community Attitudes to Gene Technology," a report on the 2017 study of public attitudes towards genetically modified organisms (GMOs), gene technology and its regulation.

The overall finding of the 2017 survey is that attitudes to GMOs have settled, mirroring very closely the results from the 2015 study, and not showing the degree of change seen between previous studies. Other key findings state that knowledge about what foods in Australia were GM is generally poor.

The survey also reports that most respondents (71%) felt that biotechnology would improve life in the future, while only 46% felt that GMOs would improve life in the future. Although only 43% of people had any awareness or knowledge of synthetic biology, there was significant support for it (62%) once respondents were given a definition.

More than half of respondents (56%) stated they were aware of gene editing and 57% thought it might improve life in the future, but 17% thought it might make things worse. Gene editing received quite high acceptance (42%) relative to other techniques, when asked about making a small change to an existing gene within a plant, as is done in gene editing.

For more details, download the report at the OGTR website.