Multispecies Approach to Bioscience

Exploring the multispecies relationships that shape biomedical innovation.

Our project seeks to understand the changing role of powerful organising concepts in biology and society, such as those of species and organism within 21st century life science, and their historical roots in 20th century. For example, when it comes to us humans there is growing awareness that we are not just composed of genes from our human parents but are polygenomic mosaics of viruses and bacteria. We are not the biological individuals we thought we were. Such insights have initiated an unprecedented level of scholarly and political interest in the status of the non-human, on multispecies relationships and on the way human life is part of biosocial transformations tied to even the smallest microbes that live in our gut.

However, our project argues that what continues to be often hidden from view is the role that multispecies and interspecies organisms have played in making biological knowledge since the 20th century. For example, since their inception cell-based technologies have transformed the boundaries of species difference and the presumed separateness of individual organisms. Our project excavates these significant experimental histories in biology via the development of chimeric organisms in classic embryology, through to developmental biology and contemporary stem cell science.