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1.
Hist Philos Life Sci ; 43(1): 16, 2021 Feb 04.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33538910

RESUMO

This essay considers how scholarly approaches to the development of molecular biology have too often narrowed the historical aperture to genes, overlooking the ways in which other objects and processes contributed to the molecularization of life. From structural and dynamic studies of biomolecules to cellular membranes and organelles to metabolism and nutrition, new work by historians, philosophers, and STS scholars of the life sciences has revitalized older issues, such as the relationship of life to matter, or of physicochemical inquiries to biology. This scholarship points to a novel molecular vista that opens up a pluralist view of molecularizations in the twentieth century and considers their relevance to current science.


Assuntos
Historiografia , Biologia Molecular/história , Diversidade Cultural , História do Século XX
2.
Hist Philos Life Sci ; 43(1): 2, 2021 Jan 07.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33411065

RESUMO

In this brief essay, we combine biological, historical, philosophical and anthropological perspectives to ask anew the question about the nature of the virus. How should we understand Sars-CoV-2 and why does it matter? The argument we present is that the virus undermines any neat distinction between the natural and the human-made, the biological and the social. Rather, to understand the virus and the pandemic we need to understand both as intimately connected to our own social and historical condition. What started as a reflection on the nature of the virus thus turns into a reflection on the human condition as refracted in this pandemic or an anthropology of the virus.


Assuntos
/epidemiologia , Pandemias , Filosofia
3.
Protein Sci ; 27(6): 1136-1143, 2018 06.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29607556

RESUMO

The essay reviews John Kendrew's pioneering work on the structure of myoglobin for which he shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1962. It reconstructs the status of protein X-ray crystallography at the time Kendrew entered the field in 1945, after distinctive service in operational research during the war. It reflects on the choice of sperm whale myoglobin as research material. In particular, it highlights Kendrew's early use of digital electronic computers for crystallographic computations and the marshaling of other tools and approaches that made it possible to solve the structure at increasing resolution. The essay further discusses the role of models in structure resolution and their broader reception. It ends by briefly reviewing Kendrew's other contributions in the formation and institutionalization of molecular biology.


Assuntos
Cristalografia por Raios X/história , Mioglobina/história , História do Século XX , Mioglobina/química , Prêmio Nobel , Conformação Proteica
4.
J Hist Biol ; 51(4): 631-655, 2018 12.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28744655

RESUMO

A common account sees the human genome sequencing project of the 1990s as a "natural outgrowth" of the deciphering of the double helical structure of DNA in the 1950s. The essay aims to complicate this neat narrative by putting the spotlight on the field of human chromosome research that flourished at the same time as molecular biology. It suggests that we need to consider both endeavors - the human cytogeneticists who collected samples and looked down the microscope and the molecular biologists who probed the molecular mechanisms of gene function - to understand the rise of the human genome sequencing project and the current genomic practices. In particular, it proposes that what has often been described as the "molecularization" of cytogenetics could equally well be viewed as the turn of molecular biologists to human and medical genetics - a field long occupied by cytogeneticists. These considerations also have implications for the archives that are constructed for future historians and policy makers.


Assuntos
Cromossomos Humanos/genética , Genoma Humano , Genômica/história , Projeto Genoma Humano/história , Biologia Molecular/história , História do Século XX , História do Século XXI , Humanos
5.
Stud Hist Philos Biol Biomed Sci ; 55: 54-60, 2016 Feb.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26371713

RESUMO

Historians working on recent science work close to where the archives are created or become accessible. Based on this experience, the essay presents a reflection on the archives of contemporary life sciences. It addresses three questions: firstly, what is special about the archival situation of contemporary sciences? Secondly, which sources do contemporary historians use and what opportunities and challenges do they offer? And finally, what potential changes to the archives of contemporary sciences are we witnessing? The essay draws a distinction between, on the one side, the history of science when the actors are still alive-a situation that presents a particular set of issues in respect to the available sources-and, on the other side, questions relating specifically to the life sciences at the turn of the millennium--a period which will eventually not be considered as 'contemporary' any more. It reviews changes in scientific practice, historiographical trends and archival practices and considers the place of paper records, digital sources, material artefacts and oral sources in the archives of contemporary sciences. It argues that the commercialisation and privatisation of science may prove a bigger problem for the future historian than the shift to the digital medium. It concludes by welcoming the closer interactions between scientists, historians, curators and archivists prompted by recent developments.


Assuntos
Arquivos/história , Historiografia , Ciência/história , Previsões , História do Século XXI , Humanos , Entrevistas como Assunto
6.
C R Biol ; 338(6): 419-23, 2015 Jun.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-25857815

RESUMO

Monod gained stature as an experimentalist and theorist as well as a discipline builder. The essay reviews the intimate connection of the intellectual and institutional projects in his career. A brief comparison with the development of the new science of molecular biology across the English Channel highlights the commonalities and specificities of the disciplinary projects in France and Britain and the role that individuals like Monod played in their formation. The article argues that there was not a single path that led to the rise of molecular biology. Rather individual initiatives and historical contingencies very much shaped local outcomes.


Assuntos
Academias e Institutos/história , Biologia Molecular/história , Europa (Continente) , História do Século XX , Humanos , Biologia Molecular/organização & administração
7.
Dynamis ; 35(2): 359-88, 2015.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26775433

RESUMO

This essay draws attention to the role of the WHO in shaping research agendas in the biomedical sciences in the postwar era. It considers in particular the genetic studies of human populations that were pursued under the aegis of the WHO from the late 1950s to 1970s. The study provides insights into how human and medical genetics entered the agenda of the WHO. At the same time, the population studies become a focus for tracking changing notions of international relations, cooperation, and development and their impact on research in biology and medicine in the post-World War I era. After a brief discussion of the early history of the WHO and its position in Cold War politics, the essay considers the WHO program in radiation protection and heredity and how the genetic study of "vanishing" human populations and a world-wide genetic study of newborns fitted this broader agenda. It then considers in more detail the kind of support offered by the WHO for these projects. The essay highlights the role of single individuals in taking advantage of WHO support for pushing their research agendas while establishing a trend towards cooperative international projects in biology.


Assuntos
Genética Populacional/história , Hereditariedade , Grupos Populacionais/genética , Proteção Radiológica/história , Organização Mundial da Saúde/história , História do Século XX , Humanos , Recém-Nascido , Cooperação Internacional/história , Política , Pesquisa
8.
Stud Hist Philos Biol Biomed Sci ; 47 Pt A: 45-9, 2014 Sep.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-25002070

RESUMO

The essays in this issue look at the contested history of human heredity after 1945 from a new analytical angle, that of populations and the ways in which they were constructed and studied. One consequence of this approach is that we do not limit our attention to the disciplinary study of genetics. After the Second World War, populations became a central topic for an array of fields, including demography, anthropology, epidemiology, and public health. Human heredity had a role in all of these: demographers carried out mental surveys in efforts to distinguish hereditary from environmental factors, doctors screened newborns and tested pregnant women for chromosome disorders; anthropologists collected blood from remote locations to gain insights into the evolutionary history of human populations; geneticists monitored people exposed to radiation. Through this work, populations were labelled as clinical, normal, primitive, pure, vulnerable or exotic. We ask: how were populations chosen, who qualified as members, and how was the study of human heredity shaped by technical, institutional and geopolitical conditions? By following the practical and conceptual work to define populations as objects of research, the essays trace the circulation of practices across different fields and contexts, bringing into view new actors, institutions, and geographies. By doing so the collection shows how human heredity research was linked to the broader politics of the postwar world, one profoundly conditioned by Cold War tensions, by nationalist concerns, by colonial and post-colonial struggles, by modernisation projects and by a new internationalism.


Assuntos
Genética Populacional , Hereditariedade , Política , Pesquisa , Antropologia/história , Colonialismo , Demografia/história , Epidemiologia/história , Genética Populacional/história , História do Século XX , História do Século XXI , Humanos , Saúde Pública/história , Pesquisa/história , Guerra
9.
Stud Hist Philos Biol Biomed Sci ; 47 Pt A: 87-96, 2014 Sep.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-24954363

RESUMO

It is commonly held that after 1945 human genetics turned medical and focussed on the individual rather than on the study of human populations that had become discredited. However, a closer look at the research practices at the time quickly reveals that human population studies, using old and new tools, prospered in this period. The essay focuses on the rise of chromosome analysis as a new tool for the study of human populations. It reviews a broad array of population studies ranging from newborn screening programmes to studies of isolated or 'primitive' people. Throughout, it highlights the continuing role of concerns and opportunities raised by the propagation of atomic energy for civilian and military uses, the collection of large data bases and computers, and the role of international organisations like the World Health Organisation and the International Biological Programme in shaping research agendas and carving out a space for human heredity in the postwar era.


Assuntos
Cromossomos , Genética Populacional/história , Grupos Populacionais/genética , Pesquisa/história , Antropologia/história , Coleta de Dados/história , Hereditariedade , História do Século XX , Humanos
10.
Hist Philos Life Sci ; 35(1): 13-8, 2013.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-23888820

RESUMO

The essay reviews Hans-Jörg Rheinberger's intensive engagement with French epistemology that has remained a constant throughout his career. It focuses especially on a set of recent writings by Rheinberger that all revolve around the question: how has epistemology become historical? This question is discussed in the context of Rheinberger's own move from philosophy to an embracement of history.


Assuntos
Conhecimento , Filosofia/história , França , História do Século XX , História do Século XXI
11.
Isis ; 102(4): 601-33, 2011 Dec.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-22448540

RESUMO

Monoclonal antibodies played a key role in the development of the biotechnology industry of the 1980s and 1990s. Investments in the sector and commercial returns have rivaled those of recombinant DNA technologies. Although the monoclonal antibody technology was first developed in Britain, the first patents were taken out by American scientists. During the first Thatcher government in Britain, blame for the missed opportunity fell on the scientists involved as well as on the National Research and Development Corporation, which had been put in place after World War II to avoid a repeat of the penicillin story, when patent rights were not sought. Instead of apportioning the blame, this essay suggests that despite past experiences and despite the new channels that were in place, Britain was not in a "patent culture" in the 1970s. It traces the long and painful process that made a commercial attitude among publicly funded British research scientists and in a civil service institution like the Medical Research Council both possible and desirable. In this process the meaning of the term "public science" also changed dramatically.


Assuntos
Anticorpos Monoclonais/história , Pesquisa Biomédica/história , Biotecnologia/história , Patentes como Assunto/história , Anticorpos Monoclonais/economia , Pesquisa Biomédica/economia , Pesquisa Biomédica/legislação & jurisprudência , Biotecnologia/economia , Biotecnologia/legislação & jurisprudência , Comércio/economia , Comércio/história , Comércio/legislação & jurisprudência , História do Século XX , Humanos , Reino Unido , Estados Unidos
13.
Stud Hist Philos Biol Biomed Sci ; 40(1): 13-9, 2009 Mar.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-19268870

RESUMO

Microstudies and big picture accounts are often counterposed. This paper investigates the supposed dichotomy between the two historiographical approaches. In particular it investigates how the discussions are reflected in the historiography of molecular biology and the special questions posed by the disciplinary context. Taking inspiration from the microhistory tradition as exemplified by the works of Carlo Ginzburg, Jacques Revel, and David Sabean among others, the paper highlights the heuristic value of microstudies to reconstruct the multiple contexts that link apparently small events with broader structures. In a parallel fashion, the paper argues for using microstudies to open up the history of molecular biology to other fields of study and thus moving beyond the confines of the disciplinary framework. Such an approach does not dismiss the search for big pictures. Yet rather than opposing big pictures to microstudies, it sees microstudies as a valid way to gain new and broad vistas.


Assuntos
Biotecnologia/história , Historiografia , Biologia Molecular/história , História do Século XX
15.
J Hist Biol ; 39(4): 707-35, 2006.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-17575956

RESUMO

The postwar investments by several governments into the development of atomic energy for military and peaceful uses fuelled the fears not only of the exposure to acute doses of radiation as could be expected from nuclear accidents or atomic warfare but also of the long-term effects of low-dose exposure to radiation. Following similar studies pursued under the aegis of the Manhattan Project in the United States, the "genetics experiment" discussed by scientists and government officials in Britain soon after the war, consisted in large-scale low-dose irradiation experiments of laboratory animals to assess the effects of such exposures on humans. The essay deals with the history of that project and its impact on postwar genetics. It argues that radiobiological concerns driven by atomic politics lay at the heart of much genetics research after the war and that the atomic links are crucial to understand how genetics became an overriding concern in the late 20th century.


Assuntos
Pesquisa em Genética/história , Genética/história , Radiobiologia/história , Animais , História do Século XX , Humanos , Camundongos , Energia Nuclear/história , Reatores Nucleares/história , Guerra Nuclear/história , Lesões por Radiação/história , Liberação Nociva de Radioativos , Reino Unido
16.
Endeavour ; 27(2): 75-9, 2003 Jun.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-12798812

RESUMO

Several replicas of Watson and Crick's demonstration model of DNA built at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge in 1953 exist, but where is the original? Once the object of intense discussion but soon superseded by more refined models built at King's College London, it slowly fell to pieces and was eventually disassembled. Twenty years after it was first constructed, some of its pieces resurfaced at Bristol. By that time, the value attached to the original incarnation of the double helix had changed substantially, and the Science Museum in London commissioned a replica of the model, with some of the original parts built into it. The model was hailed as 'the nearest there is to the original'. It has since served as prototype for further replicas. Meanwhile the spidery model of DNA has become the ultimate icon of 20th-century life sciences, and more pieces supposedly belonging to the original continue to appear at auction.


Assuntos
DNA/história , Modelos Moleculares , Biologia Molecular/história , DNA/química , História do Século XX , Museus , Conformação de Ácido Nucleico , Reino Unido
17.
Isis ; 94(1): 90-105, 2003 Mar.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-12725105

RESUMO

This essay examines an iconic image of twentieth-century science: Antony Barrington Brown's photograph of James Watson, Francis Crick, and the double-helical model of DNA. The detailed reconstruction of the production, reception, and uses of the photograph reveals the central role of the image in making the discovery it portrays. Taken in May 1953, two full months after the scientists built the model, to accompany a report on the structure in Time magazine, the photograph (like the report) was never published. It came into circulation only fifteen years later, as an illustration in Watson's best-selling book The Double Helix. While the image served as a historical document and advertisement for the book, only the book provided the description that made the image as well as the people and the model it represented famous. The history of the image provides insights into the retrospective construction of the discovery, which has since been celebrated as the origin of a new science of life.


Assuntos
DNA/história , Fotografação/história , Retratos como Assunto/história , História do Século XX , Modelos Moleculares , Conformação de Ácido Nucleico , Reino Unido
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