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Public concerns about general and specific applications of genetic engineering: a comparative study between the UK and Italy

Anna Saba (Istituto Nazionale della Nutrizione, Rome, Italy)
Anna Moles (Istituto Nazionale della Nutrizione, Rome, Italy)
Lynn J. Frewer (Institute of Food Research, Earley Gate, Reading, UK)

Nutrition & Food Science

ISSN: 0034-6659

Article publication date: 1 February 1998

993

Abstract

Public opinion regarding the application and development of genetic engineering is likely to be an important factor influencing the future development of the technology, and its subsequent application within the commercial sector. Recent studies have been carried out which have assessed public attitudes to biotechnology, and in particular genetic engineering, but there is little empirical work to understand cross‐cultural differences in attitudes, other than that using an opinion poll methodology, particularly in a cross‐cultural context. This study seeks to compare public concerns assessed by a combination of qualitative and quantitative analysis in the UK and Italy. The results show that, despite the fact that Italians used a poorer vocabulary to describe their concerns compared to the British respondents, both samples clustered the applications in a similar way. Perceptions of need and benefit were important in both Italy and the UK as determinants of acceptance of particular applications. However, while negative constructs in Italy were predominantly focused on ethical issues, respondents in the UK focused on both risk‐related issues and ethical considerations; nevertheless, the pattern of concern regarding different applications were similar in both countries.

Keywords

Citation

Saba, A., Moles, A. and Frewer, L.J. (1998), "Public concerns about general and specific applications of genetic engineering: a comparative study between the UK and Italy", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. 98 No. 1, pp. 19-29. https://doi.org/10.1108/00346659810196282

Publisher

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MCB UP Ltd

Copyright © 1998, MCB UP Limited

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