Genetics and genomics – when metaphors begin to matter

I remember in the not so distant past standing in the Wellcome Sanger Institute in Cambridge admiring the huge sequencing machines and chatting about public engagement with colleagues before giving a talk about genomics and metaphors. I also remember writing some things about gene editing and metaphor. In my mind all this related to basic …

Gene drives and societal narratives

Some days ago, I came across an interesting virtual conference (HT @Sarah_A_Hartley) about gene editing which includes a session on ‘societal narratives’. I have written quite a bit about societal narratives of gene editing, but more recently I became involved in the issue of ‘gene drive’, that is, “a system of biased inheritance in which …

Covidcomm

We have all heard about the epidemic of misinformation, even the epidemiology of misinformation, that is emerging and spreading alongside the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Staring this tsunami in the face, I began to wonder: is there anything good out there as well, something we can be proud of in terms of information and communication? I …

What R we talking about? Pandemics and numbers

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought us many new words and phrases, words and phrases that are reshaping our lives, such as ‘social distancing’, furlough, WFH (working from home), which I always read as WTF, zoom meetings, PPE and so on. It has also brought with it lots of numbers and graphs and other mathematical and/or …

Chanting to the choir: The dialogical failure of antithetical climate change blogs

This is a guest post by Jennifer Metcalfe on a paper she just published. The article explored the potential for people commenting underneath two very different, even antithetical, blogs dealing with climate science, to chat about and engage with climate science. *** My paper, Chanting to the choir: the dialogical failure of antithetical climate change …

Gene drives and Trojan horses: A tale of two metaphor uses

I was reading a recent article on gene drive entitled “Engineering bugs, resurrecting species: The wild world of synthetic biology for conservation” and came across this sentence about a so-called ‘Medea drive’: “This genetic Trojan Horse could then be used to spread elements that confer susceptibility to certain environmental factors, such as triggering the death …

Moral Dilemmas in Science Journalism about Genetics Research: The case of gene drives

Guest post by Rebecca Hardesty, Ph.D. Rebecca Hardesty is a postdoctoral scholar in science education and communication at UC San Diego in its Division of Biological Sciences and the Teaching + Learning Commons. *** The New York Times Magazine rang in the New Year with a featured piece by Jennifer Kahn recounting the promises and …