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Journal Articles

Popular Press





While each article was intended and written for their respective audiences, both presented a new finding that linked mutations in the ABCA3 gene with fatal surfactant deficiency in newborn infants. They both systematically descried the topic of interest by first describing some general background information through explicit definitions and further went on to delve into their reasons for studying ABCA3 as a candidate gene for unexplained surfactant deficiency. Interestingly, both articles presented reservations about the findings although their explanation of these reservations varied through use of scientific jargon. Additionally, both articles illustrate caution as to the explicit role of ABCA3 and instead suggest that other pathways and interactions could be involved, accounting for phenotypic consequences observed during the case study. This allusion to a broader landscape calls to question the process of analyzing data obtained from studies like these; specifically the movement away from genetics towards a more widespread persepective, utilizing genomic principles and thought to account for unexplained conditions through DNA analysis.


- The popular press article presented very little data and hardly any explanation of methodology used for the finding. Instead, it conveyed the discovery as a form of "newfound fact" to be accepted by the population at large.

- Additonally, the popular press aritlce presented its claims as a sort of "review" of the scientific article. Through use of words like, "sepeculate" and "believe", it utilized quotations from the researchers themselves instead of providing imperical data to back up the claims. This type of writing, while effective for the everyday reader insterested in new breakthroughs, undermines the importance of the research and instead presents allows the the reader to interpret the discovery at their own discretion.

- The scientific article on the other hand, provided a detailed description of methods employed that lead to the discovery. It provided numerous figures and tables that presented the evidence in which to back up the author's claims.

- Background information allowed the reader to formulate their own opinions of the topic so that by examining the data presented, they could skeptically accept or reject the findings based off of their own conclusions. However, the authors also provided sufficinet reasoning, that the popular press article lacked, that served to prove their claims in an effort to better understand fatal surfactant deficiency as a whole.


Even though the articles varried in their presentation of the information, they presented the newly found discoveries in simplistic forms that could be understood by their desired audiences. Their use of reservation and expressed desire for further research highlight key aspects of genomic studies today. Despite the understanding gained through this case study, both articles acknowledge that continued exploratoin and research is necessary to understand complex issues such as surfactant deficiency and that by using a genomics based study, could ellicit such breakthroughs either now or in the near future.


Johns Hopkins Medicine. "Genetic Mutation Linked to Infant Lung Disease." Johns Hopkins Medicine, Based in Baltimore, Maryland. Johns Hopkins Medicine: Office of Communications and Public Affairs, 24 Mar. 2004. <>.

Shulenin, Sergey, Lawrence M. Nogee, Tarmo Annilo, Susan E. Wert, Jeffrey A. Whitsett, and Michael Dean. "ABCA3 Gene Mutations in Newborns with Fatal Surfactant Deficiency." New England Journal of Medicine 350.13 (2004): 1296-303. Paper Link.

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