Gene-editing provides an opportunity to address the significant challenges of population growth and climate change that impact food production. Given the important role of gene-editing in our food system, exploring opportunities to persuade public acceptance of the technology is needed. The purpose of this study was to investigate persuasive effects of metaphorical concepts regarding gene-editing in agriculture. The Elaboration Likelihood Model was used as the conceptual framework. Metaphors stand to influence public acceptance because metaphors encourage issue-relevant thinking and enhance persuasion. A quantitative, randomized, between-subjects, experimental research design was delivered via an online survey to a nationally representative sample of U.S. residents. The manipulation was four mock news articles differentiated by metaphorical concept for gene-editing in agriculture (creation versus text editor versus tool versus control). Even when controlling for confounding variables, the results indicated no significant differences between the treatments on issue-relevant thinking or willingness to share the article on social media. Future research should explore the impact of metaphorical concepts on attitude and other behavioral outcomes associated with elaboration.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.