U.S. opposition to genetic engineering of animals varies based on the modification’s purpose, but “messing with God’s plan” is consistently a minor reason for opposition, according to a Pew Research Center report released on Aug. 16.
For example, among the 29 percent of respondents who said genetic engineering of mosquitoes “to prevent spread of disease by limiting their production” was “taking technology too far,” only 8 percent said “messing with God’s plan” was the main reason for their view.
Reasons for opposition to other forms of animal biotechnology followed a similar pattern.
Eight percent said “messing with God’s plan” was the main reason for opposition to modifications of aquarium fish and 9 percent for rejecting the modification of animals for the purpose of more nutritious meat.
Only two categories had double-digit percentages of respondents listing “messing with God’s plan” as the main reason for their stance – bringing back extinct species (12 percent) and growing organs / tissues for humans (11 percent).
Pew also found that religious commitment correlates to lower support of all examples of animal biotechnology surveyed.
Mosquitoes modification was supported by 69 percent of respondents with high religious commitment, compared to 71 percent with low commitment.
Differences were more pronounced in the other four categories: modifying aquarium fish (15 percent support; compared to 30 percent support among those with low religious commitment); growing organs / tissues for humans (48 percent support, compared to 68 percent), creating more nutritious meat (32 percent, compared to 53 percent), and bringing back extinct animals (21 percent, compared to 44 percent).
The full report is available here.