By Hannah Landecker
How did cells make the adventure, one we take lots without any consideration, from their beginning in dwelling our bodies to anything that may be grown and manipulated on synthetic media within the laboratory, a considerable biomass residing outdoor a human physique, plant, or animal? this can be the query on the middle of Hannah Landecker's booklet. She indicates how phone tradition replaced the way in which we expect approximately such important questions of the human as individuality, hybridity, or even immortality and asks what it signifies that we will be able to eliminate cells from the spatial and temporal constraints of the physique and "harness them to human intention." instead of concentrate on unmarried discrete biotechnologies and their stories--embryonic stem cells, transgenic animals--Landecker records and explores the broader style of strategy in the back of synthetic sorts of mobile existence. She strains the lab tradition universal to all these tales, asking the place it got here from and what it ability to our realizing of lifestyles, expertise, and the more and more blurry boundary among them. The technical tradition of cells has remodeled the which means of the time period "biological," as existence turns into disembodied, dispensed commonly in house and time. when we have a extra particular take hold of on how changing biology adjustments what it really is to be organic, Landecker argues, we can be extra ready to respond to the social questions that biotechnology is elevating. (20070331)
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Extra resources for Culturing Life: How Cells Became Technologies
The problem of visualization of translucent, tiny structures was answered not by differential staining but by a different mode of isolation and observation: the isolation of one fragment of the living embryo from the rest of the body such that every moment of its continuous development was visible. To this end, Harrison isolated pieces of embryonic frog known to give rise to nerve fibers, such as the medullary tube or the branchial ectoderm, before any visible differentiation into nerve fibers had occurred.
28 The paradox involved in observing living processes was the difficulty of recording or even describing those processes. Even a drawing or a series of drawings over time presupposed the ability to capture discreet moments from a continuous process (see Figure 1). As Harrison wrote, The character of the movement that takes place at the end of the fiber is difficult to describe. The filaments in which the fiber ends are extremely minute and colorless, showing against their colorless surroundings only by difference in refraction.
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