Molecular metaphors: the gene in popular discourse

Nat Rev Genet. 2001 Jul;2(7):555-9. doi: 10.1038/35080583.


Geneticists deploy a striking range of metaphors to communicate their science, to promote its value and to suggest its social meaning to the public. So too, critics of science and special interest groups use metaphorical constructs to express their concerns about the implications of the 'genetic revolution'. Through metaphors, genetics can seem a source of salvation or a means of exploitation, a boon to health or a source of risk. This paper is a critical review of the metaphors used to communicate genetic information to the public.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Communication*
  • Genes*
  • Humans
  • Science*