In this essay, we reflect on how the findings of the preceding papers enabled us to thicken the history of genomics. We have expanded the number of dimensions across which our historical work operated beyond extending the dimension of time. Building on this, we argue that the history of genomics became synchronically entangled with a range of communities, target species, and research agendas—among them yeast biochemistry, pig and human immunology, systematics, medical genetics, and agricultural genetics. We make sense of these entanglements with analytic categories to characterize modes of organizing and conducting sequencing, and the relationships between the practices of sequencing and the objectives of those collaborating around it: horizontal and vertical, proximate and distal, directed and undirected, as well as intensive and extensive sequencing. Our categories emerged as we analyzed and qualitatively interpreted datasets and co-authorship networks. Throughout this special issue, we have characterized genomics as a set of tools that open up connections between actors, institutions, experimental organisms, and historically contingent forms of research. We contend that presenting genomics in this way emphasizes the agency of the communities that mobilized the sequence data and offers a fresh perspective for addressing the medical and agricultural translation of that data. We close by proposing how we can develop our mixed-methods approach through the establishment of a domain ontology that would allow information on sequence submissions and publications to be connected to other forms of data, thus expanding the range of evidence available for historical analysis. This essay is part of a special issue entitled The Sequences and the Sequencers: A New Approach to Investigating the Emergence of Yeast, Human, and Pig Genomics, edited by Miguel García-Sancho and James Lowe.
Across and within Networks: Thickening the History of Genomics
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James Lowe, Miguel García-Sancho, Rhodri Leng, Mark Wong, Niki Vermeulen, Gil Viry; Across and within Networks: Thickening the History of Genomics. Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences 1 June 2022; 52 (3): 443–475. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/hsns.2022.52.3.443
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