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Large gem diamonds from metallic liquid in Earth’s deep mantle

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Science  16 Dec 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6318, pp. 1403-1405
DOI: 10.1126/science.aal1303

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  • RE: Impact of Coining a Phrase

    As a biologist by training, I have always enjoyed Science for the diversity of subject matter and informative news items. I read with great interest the fine work presented by Smith et al. (Large gem diamonds from metallic liquid in Earth’s deep mantle Vol 354:6318 p 1403). However, a particular turn of phrase touched a sensitive nerve for me. The authors report “We have identified a genetically distinct diamond population …” This nerve has been rubbed particularly raw by the mindless use of the phrase “it’s in our DNA” to impute some sort of admirable, fundamental characteristic upon an organization, as if such could really occur. For the acronym DNA to enter the common vernacular in such usage is unfortunate at best. To be "genetically distinct", there necessarily needs to be transmissible genetic material present. I understand the metaphor, but unfortunately it was not presented as such and I would hope that such usage does not enter into the geochemistry vernacular.

    Competing Interests: None declared.

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