Chemical consequences: environmental mutagens, scientist by Scott Frickel

By Scott Frickel

Here is the 1st historic and sociological account of the formation of an interdisciplinary technological know-how often called genetic toxicology, and of the scientists’ social circulation that created it.

After learn geneticists stumbled on that man made chemical compounds have been in a position to altering the genetic constitution of residing organisms, scientists started to discover how those chemical compounds affected gene constitution and function.  within the overdue Nineteen Sixties, a small crew of biologists grew to become involved that chemical mutagens represented a major and doubtless worldwide environmental threat.

Genetic toxicology is nurtured as a lot via public tradition as by way of expert practices, reflecting the interaction of genetics learn and environmental politics. Drawing on a wealth of assets, Scott Frickel examines the production of this box in the course of the lens of social stream idea. He finds how a devoted crew of scientist-activists reworked chemical mutagens into environmental difficulties, mobilized latest learn networks, recruited scientists and politicians, secured monetary assets, and constructed new methods of buying wisdom. the result's a publication that vividly illustrates how technology and activism have been interwoven to create a self-discipline that continues to be a defining function of environmental health and wellbeing science.

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Additional info for Chemical consequences: environmental mutagens, scientist activism, and the rise of genetic toxicology

Sample text

Chemical compound[s] which, when administered to the insect, will deprive it of its ability to reproduce” showed considerable promise for minimizing the biological and economic costs associated with autocidal pest control (Borkovec 1962:1034; Smith 1971). S. 18 Chemosterilants were less costly and more widely accessible than radiation sources.

At root the movement was a call for the development of a new field of applied biology at a time when biology was rapidly gaining legitimacy as a “hard” experimental science. The movement also advocated an interdisciplinary approach to mutagenesis and its attendant public health implications. The movement’s goals thus were doubly contentious, urging geneticists to get involved in applied work and simultaneously to relinquish their exclusive claim to the problem of mutagenicity. Second, the movement was contentious in that it involved a redistribution CHEMICAL CONSEQUENCES 16 of disciplinary power.

3 As easy as Drosophila was to find in the wild, it was even easier to please in the “second nature” of the laboratory. It thrived in cramped quarters on old bananas, a food source that was inexpensive, easily prepared, and available to laboratory technicians year-round. Its domestic habits and nutritional needs, in short, made Drosophila a guest well suited to life in the laboratory (Kohler 1994:20–22). Neither Drosophila’s laboratory domestication nor its consequent status as geneticists’ experimental organism-of-choice during the first half of the twentieth century was automatic.

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