Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

What Is A Gene? Media Define the Concept In Many Different Ways

Date:
September 5, 2008
Source:
European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)
Summary:
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.

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.

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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Frame that Gene: A tool for Analyzing and Classifying the Communication of Genetics to the Public. EMBO, October, 2008

Cite This Page:

European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). "What Is A Gene? Media Define the Concept In Many Different Ways." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080904220344.htm>.
European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). (2008, September 5). What Is A Gene? Media Define the Concept In Many Different Ways. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080904220344.htm
European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). "What Is A Gene? Media Define the Concept In Many Different Ways." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080904220344.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

AP (July 22, 2014) Sounding alarms about the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, CDC Director Tom Frieden warned Tuesday if the global community does not confront the problem soon, the world will be living in a devastating post-antibiotic era. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins