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 …

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 …

A road called ‘gene drive’ and the road to ‘gene drive’: Trials and tribulations of media analysis

As people might know, I enjoy doing media analysis of emerging biotechnologies, from cloning to gene editing and beyond. I have lately become fascinated with something called ‘gene drive’, a new genetic engineering technology that was brought to public attention around 2014/2015 at the confluence of two ‘events’: the outbreak of Zika and advances in CRISPR-Cas9 …

Promoting Socially Irresponsible Research and Innovation?: That National Academy of Sciences tweet on genome editing and human enhancement

This is a guest post by Michael Morrison, PI on the ESRC BioModifying Technologies project at the Centre for Health, Law and Emerging Technologies (HeLEX), Faculty of Law, University of Oxford *** On the 30th September 2019 the Twitter account of the US National Academy of Sciences (@theNASciences) published the following tweet: “Dream of being …

What is a climate change communicator to do?

In a recent article, social scientists claim that a rhetoric of deadlines to urge action on climate change is ‘dangerous’. While I agree that it might be dangerous to get into a situation where you extend deadlines forever if you cannot achieve them, setting no deadlines at all may make it difficult to talk about …