Exploring the post-genomic world: Differing explanatory and manipulatory functions of post-genomic sciences

Holmes, Christina, Carlson, Siobhan M., McDonald, Fiona, Jones, Mavis, & Graham, Janice (2016) Exploring the post-genomic world: Differing explanatory and manipulatory functions of post-genomic sciences. New Genetics and Society, 35(1), pp. 49-68.

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Abstract

Richard Lewontin proposed that the ability of a scientific field to create a narrative for public understanding garners it social relevance. This article applies Lewontin's conceptual framework of the functions of science (manipulatory and explanatory) to compare and explain the current differences in perceived societal relevance of genetics/genomics and proteomics. We provide three examples to illustrate the social relevance and strong cultural narrative of genetics/genomics for which no counterpart exists for proteomics. We argue that the major difference between genetics/genomics and proteomics is that genomics has a strong explanatory function, due to the strong cultural narrative of heredity. Based on qualitative interviews and observations of proteomics conferences, we suggest that the nature of proteins, lack of public understanding, and theoretical complexity exacerbates this difference for proteomics. Lewontin's framework suggests that social scientists may find that omics sciences affect social relations in different ways than past analyses of genetics.

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ID Code: 94932
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: proteomics, genomics, public understanding of science
DOI: 10.1080/14636778.2015.1133280
ISSN: 1469-9915
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > OTHER STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (169900) > Studies in Human Society not elsewhere classified (169999)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > OTHER LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (189900) > Law and Legal Studies not elsewhere classified (189999)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Health Law Research
Current > Schools > School of Law
Funding:
  • CIHR/OGH-111402
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 The Author(s)
Copyright Statement: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Deposited On: 17 Apr 2016 23:22
Last Modified: 19 Apr 2016 00:09

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