Eric Diebel (Indiana University)
Common Genomes: DNA in informatic formats and open source in biology.

In this talk, I am interested in reconsidering the relationship between property and the representation of nature as scientific knowledge. Specifically I will attempt to address the question "who owns nature?" by combining STS theorising of the historical relationship of science and society with political theories on nature as a common property. From this point of view I am interested in reconsidering the translation of DNA into informatic formats and its implication for the ways wherein 'life' and 'common property' intersect in the life sciences and are being mobilised in correspondence with a range of social objectives as well as to artifacts being used. My work on the introduction of open source in the life sciences suggests that the centrality of DNA in informatic formats in the life sciences corresponds to an exploration of alternatives to patenting that privilege those representations of nature that do not challenge the ommercialization of science or the restrictions on the usage of DNA in other formats, like seeds, biodiversity or any other form of living materials.