Bioethics Blogs

In the Journals – March 2015 by Anna Zogas

Here are some of the journal articles that have been published in March 2015. Enjoy!

New Genetics and Society

Origin stories from a regional placenta tissue collection (open access)
Maria Fannin and Julie Kent

Twenty-three years ago when women and their children were recruited to a longitudinal genetic epidemiological study during pregnancy, placentas were collected at birth. This paper explores the history of a regional placenta biobank and contemporary understandings of its value for the constitution of a research population. We draw on interviews with some of the mothers and those responsible for the establishment and curation of the placenta collection in order to explore the significance and meaning of the collection for them. Given its capacity to stand in for the study cohort of mothers and children, we argue that the material significance of the placenta biobank as a research tool seems far less important than the work it does in constituting a population. The stories about this collection may be understood within the wider context of developments in biobanking and the bioeconomy.

Standardizing work as a recursive process: shaping the embryonic stem cell field
Lena Eriksson and Andrew Webster

In this paper, we examine processes of standardization and their role in helping to stabilize human embryonic stem cells as biological objects and in building the stem cell field itself. Drawing on empirical data from the emerging embryonic stem cell field, we explore the various arenas within which standardizing work goes on and how these relate to each other as different types of labour within and beyond the lab, one to do with stabilizing the bio-object and a second to do with its comparability and identity within a wider domain.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.