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Syst Synth Biol. 2009 Dec;3(1-4):19-26. doi: 10.1007/s11693-009-9031-x. Epub 2009 Oct 10.

Communicating Synthetic Biology: from the lab via the media to the broader public.

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London School of Economics and Political Science, Houghton Street, London, WC2A2AE, UK,


We present insights from a study on communicating Synthetic Biology conducted in 2008. Scientists were invited to write press releases on their work; the resulting texts were passed on to four journalists from major Austrian newspapers and magazines. The journalists in turn wrote articles that were used as stimulus material for eight group discussions with select members of the Austrian public. The results show that, from the lab via the media to the general public, communication is characterized by two important tendencies: first, communication becomes increasingly focused on concrete applications of Synthetic Biology; and second, biotechnology represents an important benchmark against which Synthetic Biology is being evaluated.

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