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ELSI Friday Forum 2024

April 2024 ELSI Friday Forum: Why Film and TV? ELSI Research and the Public Imagination


The study of genetics has long been viewed through the lens of mass media and entertainment, and as the field has progressed in recent decades, its portrayal in media, television, and film has also evolved. Depictions of genetic sciences, from television series like CSI and Grey’s Anatomy to movies such as Blade Runner 2049 and X-Men sequels, convey messages about genetics research and technology to broad audiences. Whether bridging connections between technical genetic questions and broader societal issues in the media, or depicting genetic science tools like DNA testing in on-screen portrayals, genetics has surpassed its traditional methods of information delivery. Yet, how accurate are portrayals of genetics in television and film? How do representations of genetics in film and television influence public discourse on topics such as social identity, lineage, reproduction, and more? And importantly, how do these interpretations aid ELSI researchers in framing genetics information? This ELSI Friday Forum delved into the visual representations of genetics in television and film and their significance for ELSI research.

Moderator: Jay Clayton, PhD

Panelists:  Sofia Bull, PhD & Everett Hamner, PhD


genetics and media