I love science journalism. Sometimes I hate it, too. All too often, the public ends up reading a perfect storm of wrong information that occurs when science writers use imperfect analogies to get their point across (as article wordcounts shrink from multikiloword features to mere Tweets) and/or journalists untrained in science cover stories without sufficient background to understand the topic (or even ask appropriate questions). Remember when the Internet was a series of tubes invented by Al Gore? This year, it’s synthetic biology’s turn in the barrel of abuse.
Christina Agapakis, over at the Scientific American blog Oscillator, tries to undo some of the damage by explaining how “designing a gene with synthetic biology” is really not like writing a software program, despite an article published by the New York Times. It’s a good read: If you wish to make a gene from scratch.