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New Wellcome Trust funded project on gene drive

Brigitte Nerlich is a co-investigator on a project led by Dr Sarah Hartley at the University of Exeter as Principle Investigator, funded by The Wellcome Trust: "Talking about gene drive: An exploration of language to enable understanding and deliberation in Africa, Europe, North America and Australasia".

Decisions involving the potential future use and governance of gene drive technology will require meaningful, empowered and culturally relevant dialogue among and between stakeholders and communities. However, gene drive is a complex science and stakeholders are already using language to advance their respective interests. Emerging empirical work suggests that the narratives, stories, metaphors and analogies used to talk about gene drive may be more important than technical vocabulary. We employ social representations theory to understand how people make sense of and communicate about gene drive through narratives, stories, metaphors and analogies.

Through a comparative case study research design we map and understand the language and terminology used to explain gene drive across four case studies: Uganda, Australia, USA and UK. We use media analysis, interviews and focus groups to evaluate the utility of the different narratives, stories, metaphors and analogies and explore cultural differences in order to develop an independent and shared understanding of how to talk about gene drive.

Posted on Wednesday 19th June 2019

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