Mitochondrial Eve and the Affective Politics of Scientific Technologies



The chapter traces the emergence of mitochondrial and Y-chromosome analyses of human ancestry. It focuses on the scientific and cultural debate that surrounded the figures of “Mitochondrial Eve” (the most recent matrilineal ancestor of currently living humans) and “Y-chromosome Adam” (the most recent patrilineal ancestor of currently living men) from 1987 through the 1990s. The chapter explores the affective engagements of these technologies, and especially how they emerged through, and were entangled in, racialized, gendered, and sexualized differences. The chapter elaborates on these findings through two works of fiction, Greg Egan’s short story “Mitochondrial Eve” and Hideaki Sena’s horror novel Parasite Eve.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Helsinki Collegium for Advanced StudiesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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