The Molecular Genetics Testing Lab. On the Fringe of Personhood

Daniela Crocetti


Abstract This article proposes to consider the deterministic potential of genetic testing by confronting the genetic “mystique” portrayed in popular culture (and in certain scientific literature), in which DNA is seen as the soul of the cell and genes as master molecules (Lindee and Nelkin 2004), with molecular genetic testing laboratory practices. We will look at the question of what genetic testing does, that is, the practice of genetic testing itself. The particular molecular testing laboratory we will be looking at tests for genetic markers associated with DSD (Disorders of Sex Development). The testing process reveals a previously invisible component of the body through the aid of technology, and a complex picture unravels regarding the role genes play in being considered “un-well”.

Keywords 5-alpha reductase; bio-sociality; DSD; genetic testing; laboratory studies.

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