Multiple representations of Dolly in the discourses on cloning and stem cell research in Brazilian press coverage

Flavia Natércia da Silva Medeiros

The announcement of the birth of Dolly the sheep, the first mammal created by nuclear transfer of a somatic adult cell, attracted great media attention. It triggered a public discussion about human cloning, which gave rise to debates on therapeutic cloning and stem cell research and therapies. This study investigates through discourse analysis the representations of Dolly in Brazilian press coverage of cloning and stem cell research from 1997 through 2005. At first, the cloned sheep was portrayed in the news in an ambivalent way, both as a sign of technical triumph and a sign that human cloning was achievable. However, through time Dolly acquired multiple facets with distinct meanings and implications, which may affect general public perceptions in distinct ways. Most of them may be influenced by "scientism", ideology that assigns scientists and science a major and hierarchically superior position in public debates on new technologies.

Dolly; Cloning; Stem cell research; Coverage; Brazilian press


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