Reconsidering democracy: History of the Human Genome Project

Marli Huijer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


What options are open for people - citizens, politicians, and other nonscientists - to become actively involved in and anticipate new directions in the life sciences ? In addressing this question, this article focuses on the start of the Human Genome Project (1985-1990). By contrasting various models of democracy (liberal, republican, deliberative), I examine the democratic potential the models provide for citizens' involvement in setting priorities and funding patterns related to big science projects. To enhance the democratizing of big science projects and give citizens opportunities to reflect, anticipate, and negotiate on new directions in science and technology at a global level, liberal democracy with its national scope and representative structure does not suffice. Although republican (communicative) and deliberative (associative) democracy models meet the need for greater citizen involvement, the ways to achieve the ideal at a global level still remain to be developed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-502
Number of pages24
JournalScience Communication
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2003
Externally publishedYes


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