Even scientists define 'a gene' in different ways, so it comes as little surprise that the media also have various ways of framing the concept of a gene, according to a new study appearing in the October 2008 issue of EMBO reports.
The study, Frame that gene, is based on the analysis of 300 articles in British and Norwegian newspapers: The Guardian, The Sun and The Daily Mail from the UK; and Aftenposten, Dagbladet, and VG from Norway.
The researchers -- a molecular biologist, a media expert and a PhD student in science communication from the University of Oslo, Norway -- identified five main 'gene frames' in different types of media. For example, the "deterministic" frame, which was particularly evident in tabloid media, involves one-dimensional conclusions along the lines of "Drunk? It's in your genes".
According to the authors of the study, this may be related to the desire of journalists to sell a story by keeping it simple and accessible. In contrast, the "evolutionary" frame, commonly used by scientists, gives more insight, but may be difficult to communicate. Moreover, the study also found that the gene has become a playful metaphor, for example by stating that "Mazda has many Ford genes".
The analysis in EMBO reports shows that journalists present the term 'gene' -- either consciously or subconsciously -- using a number of different frames that may invoke various prejudiced images in the reader's mind. "Such a diversity of meanings presents a key challenge to science communications, so both scientists and journalists could benefit from a clear classification of the polysemy," the paper argues.
The authors hope that their novel approach will be a useful tool for journalists and scientists to improve their explanations of genetics for a broader audience and better understand how scientific topics are framed in the mass media.
"The common understanding of scientific topics is increasingly important because the public is more and more able to influence policy-making on scientific issues and thus the funding and even the nature of research itself", explained Rebecca Carver from the Institute of Basic Medical Science at the University of Oslo and the first author of the study. Ferocious debates on genetically modified crops or stem cell research illustrate the importance that genetics and molecular biology have gained in everyday life.
The study publication Frame that Gene: A tool for Analyzing and Classifying the Communication of Genetics to the Public will appear in the October issue of EMBO reports.
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.04.2017 | Life Sciences