Knowledge, Perceptions, and Attitudes of AGRN 1110 Students on GM (Genetically Modified) Crops: A Survey


  • Mary Mahan
  • Dennis Duncan
  • Ciana Bowhay


Prior research indicates that college students are motivated to buy organic food based on their interests rather than perceived environmental or worker benefits. The underlying motivations showed discontinuity of knowledge of the benefits and reality of genetically modified (GM) crops. Therefore, we seek to determine AGRN 1110 (Plant Science Laboratory) students' knowledge, perceptions, and attitudes towards GM crops. Plant science students (n = 37) were asked to complete a survey that included the following constructs: knowledge of GM crops, purchasing habits, and personal value. The survey was distributed before and again after a GM crops unit. Preliminary results indicate that 70% believe that a GM organism is produced through genetic modification, 62.5% were unsure if GM products affected their overall health, 57.5% were unsure if GM affected the environment, 45% were unsure if GM should be given as feed to animals, and 70% believed that GM reduced pesticide use. Additionally, 78% did not seek non-GM labels, 38% were unsure if non-GM organic foods were healthier for consumption, 48% did not believe that non-GM organic fruits and vegetables taste better, and 60% had no preference if their food was non-GM or GM. Results from this study can aid educators in understanding the lacking area of knowledge surrounding GM products and understand the personal intrinsic values of collegiate students to address this controversial topic in course content.