Who are the users of synthetic DNA? Using metaphors to activate microorganisms at the center of synthetic biology

  title={Who are the users of synthetic DNA? Using metaphors to activate microorganisms at the center of synthetic biology},
  author={Erika Amethyst Szymanski},
  journal={Life Sciences, Society and Policy},
  • E. Szymanski
  • Published 14 July 2018
  • Biology
  • Life Sciences, Society and Policy
Synthetic biology, a multidisciplinary field involving designing and building with DNA, often designs and builds in microorganisms. The role of these microorganisms tends to be understood through metaphors making the microbial cell like a machine and emphasizing its passivity: cells are described as platforms, chassis, and computers. Here, I point to the efficacy of such metaphors in enacting the microorganism as a particular kind of (non-)participant in the research process, and I suggest the… 

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