Perspectives on Biology after the Genome


Book Pages: 304 Illustrations: 16 illustrations Published: May 2015

Medicine and Health, Science and Technology Studies > Philosophy of Science, Sociology

Ten years after the Human Genome Project’s completion the life sciences stand in a moment of uncertainty, transition, and contestation. The postgenomic era has seen rapid shifts in research methodology, funding, scientific labor, and disciplinary structures. Postgenomics is transforming our understanding of disease and health, our environment, and the categories of race, class, and gender. At the same time, the gene retains its centrality and power in biological and popular discourse. The contributors to Postgenomics analyze these ruptures and continuities and place them in historical, social, and political context. Postgenomics, they argue, forces a rethinking of the genome itself, and opens new territory for conversations between the social sciences, humanities, and life sciences.

Contributors. Russ Altman, Rachel A. Ankeny, Catherine Bliss, John Dupré, Michael Fortun, Evelyn Fox Keller, Sabina Leonelli, Adrian Mackenzie, Margot Moinester, Aaron Panofsky, Sarah S. Richardson, Sara Shostak, Hallam Stevens


"The volume is an accessible and insightful collection of critical and informed perspectives on how technological and theoretical developments influence science and society, and how they shape the ways we think about biological systems like ourselves."  — Sara Green, Metascience

"Postgenomics suggests just how many questions we may productively ask, and marks some highly fruitful lines of inquiry, as we seek to understand this new chapter in the ongoing interaction among genes, society, and ourselves." — Robin Wolfe Scheffler, Bulletin of the History of Medicine

"The authors convey exceptionally well the character of postgenomic science and how genomics has changed since the 1990s. . . . essential and very interesting reading for anyone interested in genomics and its recent trajectory." — Peter Wade, Technology and Culture

"This book not only analyzes the impact of numerous [genome-wide association studies] but also examines emerging research areas such as epigenetics in political, social, and philosophical contexts, in so doing redefining the information ecology of the genome. Highly recommended." — S. H. Jeong, Choice

"I recommend this book to all biologists and philosophers interested in an accessible overview of the effect of the genomic revolution on the biosciences. It capably discusses both the new discoveries and the technical improvements that have been made since the advent of genomics, as well as the attendant philosophical and sociological implications." — P. William Hughes, Science

"This book . . . should be widely read by all who are interested in the current state and future of the genomic revolution." — Michael Yudell, Social History of Medicine

"Postgenomics is a challenging book that covers a wide span of scientific, social, and public policy issues. It is an excellent resource for anyone who is interested in this complex and ever-changing field of study." — Donald F. Calbreath, New York Journal of Books

"[Postgenomics] offers readers an imaginative and frequently playful way to approach the increasingly complicated question about how scientific innovation impacts society and vice versa." — Adrianna Link, Journal of the History of Biology

"Some topics are so multi-faceted that it is difficult for any single author to do it justice. 'Postgenomics' is one of those concepts that requires a collection of different perspectives to help nail down what it connotes. In this remarkable volume, each of the six variable meanings of 'post-genomic' is captured, illuminated, and placed in socio-historical context—and the editors provide an excellent overview that gives coherence to the enterprise." — Troy Duster, author of Backdoor to Eugenics

"Postgenomics is a brilliant collection of lucid and accessible essays, and a go-to volume for anyone who wants to catch up on what has been happening in contemporary biology and science studies. Illuminating changes in the concepts of gene, genetics, genomics, postgenomics, and epigenomics—and covering everything from cancer biology, affect, and big data curation practices to behavior genetics, machine-learning infrastructure, and feminist critique—Postgenomics may change the way you think." — Michael M. J. Fischer, author of Anthropological Futures


Availability: In stock
Price: $27.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Sarah S. Richardson is John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University, jointly appointed in the Department of the History of Science and the Committee on Degrees in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. She is the author of Sex Itself: The Search for Male and Female in the Human Genome.

Hallam Stevens is Assistant Professor of History in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Nanyang Technological University (Singapore). He is the author of Life Out of Sequence: A Data-Driven History of Bioinformatics.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Foreward. Biology's Love Affair with the Genome / Russ Altman vii

1. Beyond the Genome / Hallam Stevens and Sarah S. Richardson 1

2. The Postgenomic Genome / Evelyn Fox Keller 9

3. What Toll Pursuit: Affective Assemblages in Genomics and Postgenomics / Mike Fortun 32

4. The Polygenomic Organism / John Dupré 56

5. Machine Learning and Genomic Dimensionality: From Features to Landscapes / Adrian Mackenzie 73

6. Networks: Representations and Tools in Postgenomics / Hallam Stevens 103

7. Valuing Data in Postgenomic Biology: How Data Donation and Curation Practices Challenge the Scientific Publication System / Rachel A. Ankeny and Sabina Leonelli 126

8. From Behavior Genetics to Postgenomics / Aaron Panofsky 150

9. Defining Health Justice in the Postgenomic Era / Catherine Bliss 174

10. The Missing Piece of the Puzzle? Measuring the Environment in the Postgenomic Moment / Sara Shostak and Margot Moinester 192

11. Maternal Bodies in the Postgenomic Order: Gender and the Explanatory Landscape of Epigenetics / Sarah S. Richardson 210

12. Approaching Postgenomics / Hallam Stevens and Sarah S. Richardson 232

Bibliography 243

Contributors 281

Index  287
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing
Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-5894-7 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5922-7
Publicity material