Biotech Updates

Teachers and Students' Knowledge and Attitude towards GM Food Studied

May 13, 2010

The concepts behind the genetic engineering of organisms and its applications are complex. In addition,  public opinion and media influence the subject matter. This led Animesh K. Mohapatra and colleagues at the National Council of Educational Research and Training, India, to conduct a study investigating the knowledge and attitudes of science teachers and senior secondary biology students towards genetic modification of organisms, especially GM food. 

Results revealed that there is a significant difference in the comprehension of GM foods between teachers and students. The most common perceptions about GM food were that cross bred plants are different from GM plants; and that GMOs are produced by transferring genes from high-yielding plant or animal to another organism. More teachers believe that GM food are not safe to the environment. Among the misconceptions of both teachers and students were:

  • pesticidal proteins produced by GM organisms have indirect effects through bioaccumulation
  • GM food induces allergic reactions
  • genetic engineering is production of new genes
  • transgenes are more likely to infiltrate the genes of one species into wild species than mutated species

The abstract of this study can be downloaded from