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Jul 09, 2018 Article
The story is that there is no story: media framing of synthetic biology and its ethical implications in the New York Times (2005–2015)

by Sara Giordano and Yi-Lin Chung

Despite low public knowledge of synthetic biology, it is the focus of prominent government and academic ethics debates. We examine the “NY Times” media coverage of synthetic biology. Our results suggest that the story about synthetic biology remains ambiguous. We found this in four areas — 1) on the question of whether the field raises ethical concerns, 2) on its relationship to genetic engineering, 3) on whether or not it threatens ‘nature’, and 4) on the temporality of these concerns. We suggest that this ambiguity creates conditions in which there becomes no reason for the public at large to become involved.

Volume 17 • Issue 03 • 2018