Gene drive communication: exploring experts’ lived experience of metaphor use

B. Nerlich and A. Stelmach,  New Genetics and Society,  2022.

Metaphors have been crucial in making genetics and genomics public, from the code and the book of life to genetic scissors and gene surgery. A new field is emerging called “gene drive”–a range of controversial technologies that can potentially be used for the eradication or conservation of animal species. At the same time, metaphors are emerging to talk about the promises and dangers of “gene drive”. In this article we use thematic analysis to examine thirty interviews with gene drive science and communication experts, and stakeholders, focusing on how they talk about their lived experience of metaphor use in the context of gene drive communication, including their struggle to remember salient metaphors and their reflections on which metaphors to use and which to avoid. We discuss the significance of our findings for research and practice of responsible science communication.

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