Globalizing Genomics: The Origins of the International Nucleotide Sequence Database Collaboration

Stevens, Hallam (2018) Globalizing Genomics: The Origins of the International Nucleotide Sequence Database Collaboration. Journal of the History of Biology, 51 (4). pp. 657-691.

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Abstract

Genomics is increasingly considered a global enterprise – the fact that biological information can flow rapidly around the planet is taken to be important to what genomics is and what it can achieve. However, the large-scale international circulation of nucleotide sequence information did not begin with the Human Genome Project. Efforts to formalize and institutionalize the circulation of sequence information emerged concurrently with the development of centralized facilities for collecting that information. That is, the very first databases build for collecting and sharing DNA sequence information were, from their outset, international collaborative enterprises. This paper describes the origins of the International Nucleotide Sequence Database Collaboration between GenBank in the United States, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory Databank, and the DNA Database of Japan. The technical and social groundwork for the international exchange of nucleotide sequences created the conditions of possibility for imagining nucleotide sequences (and subsequently genomes) as a “global” objects. The “transnationalism” of nucleotide sequence was critical to their ontology – what DNA sequences came to be during the Human Genome Project was deeply influenced by international exchange.

Item ID: 73180
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1573-0387
Keywords: Databases, DNA Database of Japan, EMBL-Bank, GenBank, Genomics, Transnational history
Copyright Information: The Author(s) 2017, corrected publication 2019 This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Funders: Ministry of Education, Singapore
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2022 05:05
FoR Codes: 43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4303 Historical studies > 430323 Transnational history @ 80%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3102 Bioinformatics and computational biology > 310204 Genomics and transcriptomics @ 20%
SEO Codes: 13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1307 Understanding past societies > 130702 Understanding Asia’s past @ 40%
13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1307 Understanding past societies > 130704 Understanding Europe’s past @ 30%
13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1307 Understanding past societies > 130706 Understanding the past of the Americas @ 30%
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