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Regulating Hybrids 'making a mess' and 'cleaning up' in Tissue Engineering and Xenotransplantation

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Publication details

JournalSocial Theory and Health
DatePublished - 2006
Issue number1
Number of pages23
Pages (from-to)1-24
Original languageEnglish


This paper explores the institutional regulation of novel biosciences, hybrid technologies that often disturb and challenge existing regulatory frameworks. Developing a conceptual vocabulary for understanding the relationship between material and institutional hybrids, the paper compares human tissue engineering (TE) and xenotransplantation (XT), areas of innovation which regulators have sought to govern separately and in isolation from one another. Contrasting definitional boundaries and regulatory mechanisms partition them socio-institutionally. But despite these attempts at purification, TE and XT have proven increasingly difficult to tell apart in practical and material terms. Human and animal matters, cell cultures and tissue products have much greater corporeal connection than has been institutionally recognized, and are therefore a source of acute instability in the regulation of implants and transplants. This paper tells the story of how the messy worlds of TE and XT have leaked into one another, calling into question the abilities of regulation to adequately control hybrid innovations.

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