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Genomics: shifts in metaphorical landscape between 2000 and 2003

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This article examines the shifts and changes in the metaphors used to describe the human genome and the human genome project (HGP) between 2000 and 2003, with the year 2001 as a trigger for genomic and metaphorical reflection. We want to answer questions, such as: Did the findings announced in 2001 shake the metaphorical foundations on which the HGP had been built or not? Did novel metaphors capture the imagination of scientists and the public or did old metaphors survive throughout this period? What influence does the continuity or discontinuity in metaphorical framing of the HGP have on the public perception of the HGP as well as on its scientific understanding? To answer these questions we have systematically compared the metaphors used in one major scientific journal, Nature , and in one major UK newspaper, the online edition of the Guardian/The Observer during a period of two months around June 2000, February 2001 and April 2003.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Amsterdam School of Communications Research, ASCoR The University of Amsterdam Amsterdam The Netherlands

Publication date: December 1, 2004

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