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Goldsmiths - University of London

Remaking the body? Scientists' genetic discourses and practices as examples of changing expectations on embryonic stem cell therapy for diabetes

Wainwright, S.; Williams, C.; Michael, Mike; Farsides, B. and Cribb, A.. 2007. Remaking the body? Scientists' genetic discourses and practices as examples of changing expectations on embryonic stem cell therapy for diabetes. New Genetics & Society, 26(3), pp. 251-268. ISSN 1463-6778 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

In this paper we discuss genetic discourses and practices in stem cell science. We report on how biomedical scientists, in both the UK and the USA, view the scientific literature and their own experimental research in the emerging field of human embryonic stem (hES) cells. We focus on the genetic manipulation of stem cells to make specialized (beta) cells as a potential cure for diabetes. We draw on Gieryn's notion of boundary work as an analytical motif, and suggest this is a productive way to theorize boundary crossings in the shifting landscapes of expectations in the field of new medical technologies. We argue that initial expectations of a revolution in regenerative medicine have been damped down by the difficulties of making insulin producing pancreatic beta cells from stem cells. We contend the consequent shifts in expectations have led to the emergence of other more radical experimental strategies (such as using oncogenes) in the search for potential cures for Type 1 diabetes. In conclusion, we argue that regenerative medicine is a fruitful example of the shaping of contested biomedical landscapes and we contend that embryonic stem cells are a productive case study of the interactions between genetics, science and society.

Item Type: Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.1080/14636770701701782

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology > Centre for Study of Invention and Social Process (CSISP) [2003-2015]

Dates:

DateEvent
December 2007Published

Item ID:

2495

Date Deposited:

21 Jan 2010 17:11

Last Modified:

07 Jul 2017 11:12

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI: http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/2495
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