I spy… RATinitis pigmentosa

In BBC Focus, issue 302 Christmas 2016

Boy do BBC Focus know how to bury the lead. The story beings with a positive frame: “In a breakthrough that’s been described by researchers as the Holy Grail of genetics”, we can see an almost religious exaltation. The reader gets excited to learn more, but we should be cautious.

“A team[… ]have successfully used genetic editing[.. ]to repair broken genes in the retinas of blind rats…”

The reader presupposes (at least, this one does) that the rats were blind prior to the discovery and that the new technology is used to help them.

“The team tested their technique on rats engineered to have retinitis pigmentosa…”

However, when we read further we discover the team blinded the rats. Note how the the ellipted passive is used to disguise the agent, and the use of the engineered. It refers here to rats whose DNA was altered – would this constitute a euphemism in this case?

The author is willing to remove any content that may infringe on copyrights

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