Geography and postgenomics: how space and place are the new DNA
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For many geographers, postgenomics is a relatively new perspective on biological causality. It is a non-dualistic way to conceptualize DNA, genes and environment. It also presents an opportunity for a broad critical engagement with biology through geography’s insights into socionature and the fallacies of spatial inference. In postgenomics, mapping of the spatial and temporal contexts and circumstances surrounding DNA, rather than DNA sequence alone, has become prioritized. Consequently, scientific and economic value in postgenomics accrues through the enclosure and mapping of the ‘omes’. These include the more familiar epigenome and microbiome, but also the interactome, the phenome, and the exposome among many others. The omes represent the cartographic translation of biological spatialities that modify the outcomes of DNA sequence from within as well as from outside of human bodies. In this article, we show how postgenomics leverages this omic ontologicalization of space and puts it to productive use. Drawing upon recent studies of the human microbiome, we illustrate how problematic geographies of difference arise through the way this omic mapping unfolds.
KeywordsPostgenomics Geography Cartography DNA Microbiome
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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