By Hannah Landecker
How did cells make the adventure, one we take rather a lot with no consideration, from their foundation in residing our bodies to whatever that may be grown and manipulated on man made media within the laboratory, a considerable biomass dwelling outdoors a human physique, plant, or animal? this can be the query on the center of Hannah Landecker's publication. She exhibits how mobile tradition replaced the best way we predict approximately such important questions of the human situation as individuality, hybridity, or even immortality and asks what it implies that we will eliminate cells from the spatial and temporal constraints of the physique and "harness them to human intention." instead of specialise in unmarried discrete biotechnologies and their stories--embryonic stem cells, transgenic animals--Landecker files and explores the broader style of strategy in the back of synthetic types of mobile lifestyles. She strains the lab tradition universal to all these tales, asking the place it got here from and what it capacity to our figuring out of lifestyles, know-how, and the more and more blurry boundary among them. The technical tradition of cells has reworked the that means of the time period "biological," as lifestyles turns into disembodied, allotted generally in house and time. when we have a extra particular clutch on how changing biology alterations what it truly is to be organic, Landecker argues, we will be extra ready to respond to the social questions that biotechnology is elevating. (20070331)
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Additional info for Culturing Life: How Cells Became Technologies
Already in the nine- 23 c u lt u r i n g l i f e teenth century scientific discourse was of immense density, and individual thinkers and landmark works have only become less adequate means of fathoming scientific activity and its changes. This is why an explicit methodological approach to the large scale of twentieth-century science is needed. ” There is no disputing that life in its material, conceptual, and narrative existence has been transformed by the vast enterprise that is Western biomedicine and biotechnology.
By professional selfidentification and training, Harrison was an embryologist of the Entwicklungsmechanik school; yet in his attempt to culture isolated nerve tissue, he drew not only on the concept of culturing microorganisms but also literally adopted the laboratory equipment, manuals, and knowledge of bacteriology by conducting the work in the laboratory of his colleague, bacteriologist Leo F. Rettger. 23 Although the use of clotted lymph and the hanging-drop technique immediately led to nerve outgrowth from the explant into the medium, the preparations were killed almost as immediately by rapid bacterial infection.
Carrel has consisted in an attempt to explain the mechanism of nerve degeneration and secondly an attempt to stimulate the regenerative process of cut nerves. Dr. 40 Burrows met with much more success than Lambert or the Lewises. ”42 Burrows repeated Harrison’s experiments but substituted frog blood plasma for lymph, with positive results. The use of plasma, which clotted like lymph but was much easier to obtain in quantity and was more homogenous in quality, made the preparations less laborious to construct and more reliable.
Culturing Life: How Cells Became Technologies by Hannah Landecker