A survey was conducted and the Japanese consumers voiced their opinion about Gene editing. The survey revealed they have more negative opinions about the use of new Gene-editing techniques on livestock than they do about the use of the same technologies on vegetables.
The researchers were led by Naoko Kato-Nitta, a research scientist at Tokyo’s Joint Support Center for Data Science Research and Institute of Statistical Mathematics. They conducted this survey because humans tend to feel closer to animals than plants, and express feelings about animal welfare and not plant welfare. They also wanted to see if such moral or taxonomic distinctions would produce any difference in their attitudes towards the use of emerging gene-editing techniques such as CRISPR-Cas9.In the beginning, the surveys had shown minute differences in consumer attitudes towards Gene-editing technique, where foreign DNA is inserted into an organism’s genome, compared to gene-editing, where an organism’s genes are tweaked but no foreign DNA is introduced.
The group that had been shown pictures of cartoon pigs were subsequently less likely to raise concerns about this gene modification technique on livestock than the group that had been shown pictures of cartoon tomatoes. The researchers believe that this may be because the pictures of the pigs “primed” the survey participants to be open to livestock modification.