New techniques have made genome modification cheaper, easier, and faster, leading to a boom in research, especially for biomedical uses. Given the scope and potential power of this research and its applications, people need accurate information about what is being done or proposed, and why, and what the social and political implications might be. Metaphors can be useful in explaining complex topics, as they present the new in terms of the familiar. However, they can also misrepresent both how genomes and bodies work and the social and political implications of research and applications. Existing research shows that this is happening and that we need new language. However, it is not always easy to decide whether an alternative does rhetorical work that will empower publics, patients, biologists, and physicians alike. This article offers a conceptual framework for developing, analyzing, critiquing, and choosing new metaphors that will help improve communication about genomes and genomic research.


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pp. 1-19
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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