Skip to main content

Research Repository

See what's under the surface

Advanced Search

Beyond the human genome: microbes, metaphors and what it means to be human in an interconnected post-genomic world

Nerlich, Brigitte; Hellsten, Iina

Authors

Brigitte Nerlich brigitte.nerlich@nottingham.ac.uk

Iina Hellsten



Abstract

Four years after the completion of the Human Genome Project, the US National Institutes for Health launched the Human Microbiome Project on 19 December 2007. Using metaphor analysis, this article investigates reporting in English-language newspapers on advances in microbiomics from 2003 onwards, when the word “microbiome” was first used. This research was said to open up a “new frontier” and was conceived as a “second human genome project”, this time focusing on the genomes of microbes that inhabit and populate humans rather than focusing on the human genome itself. The language used by scientists and by the journalists who reported on their research employed a type of metaphorical framing that was very different from the hyperbole surrounding the decipherment of the “book of life”. Whereas during the HGP genomic successes had been mainly framed as being based on a unidirectional process of reading off information from a passive genetic or genomic entity, the language employed to discuss advances in microbiomics frames genes, genomes and life in much more active and dynamic ways.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Mar 1, 2009
Journal New Genetics and Society
Print ISSN 1463-6778
Electronic ISSN 1463-6778
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 28
Issue 1
APA6 Citation Nerlich, B., & Hellsten, I. (2009). Beyond the human genome: microbes, metaphors and what it means to be human in an interconnected post-genomic world. New Genetics and Society, 28(1), doi:10.1080/14636770802670233
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/14636770802670233
Keywords microbiome; microbes; metaphor; self; life; Human Microbiome Project
Publisher URL http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a908812190~frm=titlelink
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingh.../end_user_agreement.pdf

Files

Microbes3.pdf (245 Kb)
PDF

Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/end_user_agreement.pdf





Downloadable Citations

;