Biotech Updates

Study Explores Public Trust in Regulatory Agencies on Gene Drive Policy Development

April 3, 2024

Public trust in government agencies greatly influences public perceptions and opinions on policy issues. With the emergence of gene drive technology, understanding public trust in regulatory agencies is crucial in supporting policy development. A study published in Review of Policy Research explores public trust in regulatory agencies that may lead to enabling policies for gene drive applications and research.

Gene drive is an emerging genetic engineering tool that significantly increases the likelihood of specific genes to be inherited by the next generation. This will allow a rapid spread of traits within a population in a relatively short period of time. There have been a couple of applications of gene drive technology currently being conducted in laboratories, such as in managing mosquito and rodent populations.

The study reported higher levels of trust in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) than in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). However, the study found that high levels of trust in USDA did not translate to stronger support for developing policies on gene drive. Instead, the researchers observed that the respondents' trust in EPA had the highest association with policies on gene drive, which indicates a slight preference for developing policies.

The study also found a significant association between higher levels of trust in USDA and being opposed to banning gene drive. However, levels of trust in the FDA and EPA do not influence the public's views on banning gene drive. Overall, the findings of the study suggest that the public has an overall preference for the USDA to lead policy development on gene drive.

For more information, read the article from Review of Policy Research.

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