Publication details

Biotechnologické utopie, DNA rekombinace a technoimaginace

Title in English Biotechnological utopias DNA recombinant and techno-imagination


Year of publication 2020
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Description The paper shows the outcomes and results of an ethnographic study I conducted in a biochemical laboratory during 2017 and 2019. Recombinant DNA technologies are understood here as the induced mutation, reconfiguration, and exchange of DNA strands to produce and design new nucleotide sequence arrangements. Using examples from the ethnographic research, the paper analyzes the context of these technologies, specifically relations among scientists, their emotions and their utopian visions in connection with living “techno-others,” edited proteins and their simulations, models and predictions. The main aim of such technologies is to explore, via experiments, the possibilities of repairing damage to human DNA, healing or enhancing human bodies and health in the future, in not-yet-realized, future bodies. These experiments are part of “machines for making the future” or the process of producing “epistemic things” as described by Rheinberger. Specifically, the paper focuses on technologies and praxis that deal with lifelike entities, bioinformatics life models, immortal(ized) cell lines, genetic tools, genes as tools, edited DNA sequences, and living things. Rather than analyze ideas of the constant fragmentation of bodies in time and space, I explore the relational character of some fractal distinctions, repeated again and again in the form of specific relationships and networks of biological material, DNA information, technologies, and also as the emotions and visions of scientists. But notions of immortality and the timeless character of biotechnological utopias are tricky. It is repetition, rather than duration. Is utopia another version of an infinity within the finite then?

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