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Chinese public perceptions of food applications based on synthetic biology

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Andy Jin, Dr Beth ClarkORCiD, Professor Lynn FrewerORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Synthetic biology (SB) is an emerging area of technological innovation with potential to be applied across a range of sectors, including within agri-food production. However, societal responses to SB and its applications will shape its development, commercialization and regulation trajectories. This research aimed to understand Chinese public responses to SB food in general and in relation to specific agri-food applications using an online survey (n = 1,330) and structural equation modelling. The results showed Chinese respondents have slightly positive attitudes towards SB food in general. Respondents reported an overall acceptance of SB soybean and SB yeast but rejected an SB pig. Of the included factors, benefit perceptions were the most influential in shaping acceptability. Affective reactions influenced benefits perceptions more than risk perceptions across all the applications. General attitudes towards SB food can positively affect the acepatbility of specific applications application directly, and indirectly via benefit perceptions. Greater perceived unnaturalness was a strong predictor of respondents’ risk perceptions but not of application acceptability. These results suggest that regulations for SB agri-food applications might most align with societal priorities if developed on a case-by-case basis. Furthermore, regulatory frameworks and emerging commercialization strategies should consider the roles of multiple factors to address specific public perceptions and attitudes.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jin S, Dawson IGJ, Clark B, Li L, Frewer LJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Food quality and Preference

Year: 2023

Volume: 110

Print publication date: 01/08/2023

Online publication date: 20/07/2023

Acceptance date: 18/07/2023

Date deposited: 18/07/2023

ISSN (print): 0950-3293

ISSN (electronic): 1873-6343

Publisher: Elseiver


DOI: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2023.104950



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Funder referenceFunder name
Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2662022 JGQD001)