The announcement of the human genome project ‘first draft’ on the 26th June 2000, appeared to conform to traditional notions of a 'scientific breakthrough' news event involving elite sources and attracting worldwide media attention. This paper demonstrates how the ethical, legal and social implications of scientific research which are rarely reported were now given prominence. It draws on systematic content analysis of all British media coverage of human genetic research in the year 2000 and interviews with key players (e.g. scientists, journalists, source organisations) to reveal how this science story was heavily orchestrated for wider media and the lay public.

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“Egos and genomes”
An analysis of British media coverage of the human genome project

Lesley Henderson   Brunel University

The announcement of the human genome project ‘first draft’ on the 26th June 2000, appeared to conform to traditional notions of a 'scientific breakthrough' news event involving elite sources and attracting worldwide media attention. This paper demonstrates how the ethical, legal and social implications of scientific research which are rarely reported were now given prominence. It draws on systematic content analysis of all British media coverage of human genetic research in the year 2000 and interviews with key players (e.g. scientists, journalists, source organisations) to reveal how this science story was heavily orchestrated for wider media and the lay public.

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