Biotechnological Frontiers for Politics and the Life Sciences

Call For Papers

Special Issue On ‘Biotechnological Frontiers

Guest Editors:  Margaret E. Kosal & Amy L. Fletcher

Recent biotechnological innovations raise critical questions of politics, science communication, technology policy, ethics, and governance. The range and spectrum of possible technologies and actors are expanding. Among the most recent addition to the genome-editing arsenal is CRISPR, a bacteria-derived system that is among the simplest genome-editing tools and more efficient than previous DNA editing techniques. Other techniques, like those for chromosome conformation capture, such as Hi-C, facilitate the assembly of an organism’s genome and was recently used with the Zika virus. Better understanding of how these emerging biotechnologies intersect with political entities, institutions, frameworks, and theories is needed.

Papers and extended abstracts are now being accepted on these and related topics for a special themed issue on Biotechnological Frontiers for Politics and the Life Sciences, an interdisciplinary journal published by Cambridge University Press. Papers and extended abstracts accepted for the issue will be published in the journal. Authors will also be invited to present their papers at a workshop to be held at Georgia Tech (Atlanta, GA) in Fall 2017.

Manuscripts for the special issue may analyze recent biotechnological innovations and their relation to politics from observational, experimental, content analytic, comparative case studies, network analysis, or other empirical frameworks. Empirically-based theoretical work is also welcome. All methodological approaches are welcome. Suitable paper topics might include but are not limited to:

  • Cellular agriculture and the future of food;
  • Gene-editing and its use in human health and medicine;
  • The use of synthetic biology and gene editing in biodiversity conservation;
  • Case studies of controversies arising from the use of these new tools;
  • Comparative analysis of governance and regulatory models, including arms control;
  • Ethical, legal, and social implications of gene-editing and new biotechnologies;
  • Intellectual property issues and patent disputes in the biotechnological sector;
  • The role of the mass media in framing biotechnological issues and innovations;
  • Implications for international, transnational, regional, or national security;
  • Institutional or organizational politics related to innovation of emerging biotechnology;
  • Expert inquiries, public consultation, and legislative initiatives.

Proposals, in the form of extended abstracts, should be at least 1,500 words and include details on methodological approach(es). Contributors submitting full papers should submit original research manuscripts that are 7,500–12,000 words. Initial submission may use any recognized citation style, but final accepted papers must conform to Chicago style.


The deadline for submission of proposals is 15 September 2017. Submitted papers will be blinded reviewed and must not have been published elsewhere. Please submit manuscripts, preferably in MS Word or pdf format, to Guest Editors Drs. Margaret E. Kosal ( and Amy Fletcher ( Queries may be addressed to either guest editor.