Rebirthing the clinic : the interaction of clinical judgement and genetic technology in the production of medical science

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The article reconsiders the nature and location of science in the development of genetic classification. Drawing on field studies of medical genetics, we explore how patient categorization is accomplished in between the clinic and laboratory. We focus on dysmorphology, a specialism concerned with complex syndromes that impair physical development. We show that dys-morphology is about more than fitting patients into prefixed diagnostic categories and that diagnostic process is marked by moments of uncertainty, ambiguity, and deferral. We describe how different forms of evidence are brought into play and how patterns of physical features are identified as genetic or not. We suggest that clinical categorical work helps articulate the genetic as an emergent domain of medical classification and that moments of ambiguity and deferral create an imperative space that helps legitimate the need for more technoscience, and consequently, more clinical judgment with which to fix the genetic future.



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Citations of this work

How genetics came to the unborn: 1960–2000.Ilana Löwy - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 47:154-162.

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References found in this work

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Edited by Ian Hacking.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas Samuel Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Edited by Otto Neurath.
Genesis and development of a scientific fact.Ludwik Fleck - 1979 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Edited by T. J. Trenn & R. K. Merton.

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