On Genetic Markers:

Standardisation and Naturalisation in Studies of Human Genetic Diversity


Amade M'charek


This paper draws on my study of the Human Genome Diversity Project. The Diversity Project aims at mapping human genetic variation in order to learn about genetic lineage and the migration history of humans. In my presentation I will address issues of naturalisation in relation to standards and processes of standardisation.


Standardised technologies tend to get back-grounded in research. Genetic similarities and differences on the other hand are fore-grounded: they is presented as autonomous and contained in the DNA, or, in human bodies. Something that can be found out there, in nature.


The paper talks about efforts of geneticists (engaged in the Diversity Project) to standardise technologies and addresses some of the normative aspects of standards. More specifically it talks about the standardisation of genetic markers. To do so both the international organisation of scientific work as well as the laboratory practice are taken into account.



Amsterdam, 28 June 2002