13 Jan 2023


What is a Multidisciplinary Approach?

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Academic level: College

Paper type: Essay (Any Type)

Words: 679

Pages: 2

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Authored by O’Keefe, Perrault, Halpern, Ikemoto, and Yarborough in collaboration with UC North Bioethics Collaboratory for Life & Health Sciences, the article titled “Editing” Genes: A Case Study About How Language Matters in Bioethics” reveals how a multidisciplinary approach can be used in looking at a text regarding the issue of gene modification. The new ways or rather techniques for gene modification have raised concerns. For instance, the use of acronyms and antonyms among other definition techniques has sparked controversies because these words do not match the bioethical standards. The use of denotative, stipulative, acronyms, and neologism definition techniques in the text has enabled the reader comprehend how language and choice of words plays an important role in comprehension of a text. 

Denotation definition technique, at its core, refers to the use of the direct or literal meaning of a word as it is in the dictionary. In a bid to make the audience understand the importance of a metaphor in new biotechnologies like CRISPR, the authors denote the meaning of the word as it means in the dictionary. In the text, metaphor is denoted as understanding and experiencing on kind of thing in terms of another (O’Keefe et al, 2015). The use of denotation in the text has significant effects of the text to the reader. To begin with the reader is able to easily comprehend what a metaphor is and its use in scientific texts such as gene modification. The other intention of using denotative definition techniques is to comply with the standards. Policies require that words and phrases used in texts give their accurate description. 

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Another definition technique used in the text is the acronym. An acronym is an abbreviation formed from the initial letters of the word whose pronunciation is a word and not the letters. One example that has been used unsparingly throughout the text is CRISPR. In full, the acronym stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats. The acronym has been used in various contexts across the texts to reveal modern technologies in gene modification. The authors state “Journalists relay and introduce a wide variety of metaphors to explain the CRISPR technology” (O’Keefe et al, 2015). In this instance, the authors’ use of acronyms is to impact the intended audience in various ways. One of the ways is to reveal that scientific studies and research allows the use of acronyms as long as the meaning is not altered. In general, it conveys the style of writing and its acceptability in the field. 

Evidently, the authors have also used the stipulative technique of definition in the text. Stipulative definitions assign meaning to words without necessarily regarding their common usage. In the text, for instance, the authors in a bid to explain how metaphors are used cognitively, they use stipulative definition of revealing a secret as spilling the beans. They contend, “Recent work in cognitive science has shown that metaphors, such as “spilling the beans,” activate both associations with actual items (here, beans) as well as the metaphorical sense ” (O’Keefe et al, 2015). The common use of the word is literary spilling the beans. In this case, however, the authors use it to show how metaphors could be used to convey meanings. The use of stipulative definitions has conveyed the authors’ argument in the use of metaphors in the context of gene modification. 

Notably, the authors of the text have also used neologism extensively. At its core, neologism as a definition technique refers to the use of newly coined words or expressions. An example of neologism technique is the use of the word genomic. Prior to the new word, genetic was commonly in use. Omics stand for a whole range of technologies that can be used in the modification of genes. In one instance, the authors have explained the use of metaphors to cause genomic instability (O’Keefe et al, 2015). This suggests that newly coined words can be used to instead of an old world to maintain the same meaning. The use of neologism definition techniques reveals to the reader that the studies is up to date with the newly developed words in the industry. 

In conclusion the authors of the article have used various definition techniques as described in the essay. Mainly the intention is to stick to various standards of writing, maintain a particular tone, and convey a message to the audience. Generally their use of the above techniques has enabled comprehension on the use of metaphors in the context of gene modification. 


O'Keefe, M., Perrault, S., Halpern, J., Ikemoto, L., Yarborough, M., & UC North Bioethics Collaboratory for Life & Health Sciences. (2015). “Editing” genes: A case study about how language matters in bioethics.  The American Journal of Bioethics 15 (12), 3-10. 

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