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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: What's in a name: are cultured red blood cells 'natural'?
Author(s): King, Emma
Lyall, Catherine
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Keywords: blood
patient and public engagement
stem cell research
Issue Date: May-2018
Date Deposited: 27-Nov-2017
Citation: King E & Lyall C (2018) What's in a name: are cultured red blood cells 'natural'?. Sociology of Health and Illness, 40 (4), pp. 687-701.
Abstract: The case of cultured red blood cells currently being grown in a laboratory for future use in human transfusion raises questions about the ontological status of such products of modern biotechnology. This paper presents results from a six-year ethnographic study involving interviews, focus groups and other forms of engagement with the scientific research team and other stakeholders, including public groups, which sought to understand respondents’ reactions to cultured red blood cells. These cells, derived from stem cell technology, have the potential to address the global shortage of donated blood. How these blood cells are situated within the spectrum of ‘natural’ to ‘synthetic’ will shape expectations and acceptance of this product, both within the scientific community and by wider publics: these blood cells are both novel and yet, at the same time, very familiar. Drawing on discussions related to classification and ‘anchoring’, we examine the contrasting discourses offered by our respondents on whether these blood cells are ‘natural’ or not and consider the impact that naming might have on both their future regulation and the eventual uptake of cultured red blood cells by society. [183 words]
DOI Link: 10.1111/1467-9566.12717
Rights: This item has been embargoed for a period. During the embargo please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: King, E. and Lyall, C. (2018), What's in a name: are cultured red blood cells ‘natural’?. Sociology of Health and Illness, 40: 687-701, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
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