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Naked GenesReinventing the Human in the Molecular Age$
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Helga Nowotny and Giuseppe Testa

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262014939

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262014939.001.0001

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The Visibility of the Genetic Future

The Visibility of the Genetic Future

(p.1) 1 The Visibility of the Genetic Future
Naked Genes

Helga Nowotny

Giuseppe Testa

The MIT Press

This chapter explores visibility as the defining feature enabled by the molecular gaze on life. Not only life is being recast through an ever expanding range of components (from genes to cells to omic profiles etc.); but these bits of living matter, once extracted from their original contexts, acquire an essential status precisely through their newly found visibility. Along with the unprecedented capacity that now enables interventions into living processes, this visibility of life’s mechanistic underpinnings shapes public discourse, conjuring the proximity of radical frontiers and sharp ruptures form existing societal arrangements. By focusing on the paradigmatic example of assisted reproduction, we show how many developments, within and around the molecular life sciences, stand instead in remarkable continuity with foundational traits of our culture.

Keywords:   Visibility, Molecular gaze, Clones, Twins, Assisted Reproduction Technologies (ART), Continuity, Geneticization of conception

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