Saturday, 14 March 2009

Genomics Short Story Competition

Deadline: 31 Mar 2009

Any idea what genomics is?

A new short story competition, launched by the ESRC Genomics Policy and Research Forum, hosted at the University of Edinburgh.
Stories should be 3000 words or less

Zinc finger

Q - What do these words have in common?
A - They’re all names of genes.

Information about the genetic makeup of people, animals and plants impacts on every aspect of our lives. But do we understand this impact? And what should we make of it?

How is our understanding of who we are affected by the knowledge that we share so much of our genetic makeup with fruit flies, mice and even pumpkins?

Are we just the sum total of our genes? What role does our environment have? Our families impact on our development, but is that because we share genes, or because we share environment, or both?

What does it mean to share genetic material with other people? Is our understanding of nationality, race, and ethnicity dependent on a genetic basis?

Can we truly control our behaviour and exercise free will if our genetic makeup influences our behaviour and the choices we make in life?

Can we blame crime on genes? Who should hold information about our genes? Who should have access to it? What should be the priority, public safety or personal freedoms?

Can an understanding of genes help feed people in developing countries? Do the advantages outweigh the risks?

The challenge

Write a short story influenced by the issues alluded to above.


Peter Goulding said...

I actually had a go at this, although I'm more of a poet than a short story writer.
My reasoning was that it probably won't get a large list of entrants and thus the chance of success might be greater.
The fact that it appears to be a free competition has absolutely nothing to do with it, despite what my wife says about me.

Emerging Writer said...

Good points Peter. It's free and it's not immediately obvious what they're looking for so the no of entries will be lower.