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On-line version ISSN 2340-7948Print version ISSN 0211-9536


BARAHONA, Ana. Transnational science and collaborative networks: the case of Genetics and Radiobiology in Mexico, 1950-1970. Dynamis [online]. 2015, vol.35, n.2, pp.333-358. ISSN 2340-7948.

The transnational approach of the science and technology studies (S&TS) abandons the nation as a unit of analysis in order to understand the development of science history. It also abandons Euro-US-centred narratives in order to explain the role of international collaborative networks and the circulation of knowledge, people, artefacts and scientific practices. It is precisely under this perspective that the development of genetics and radiobiology in Mexico shall be analyzed, together with the pioneering work of the Mexican physician-turned-geneticist Alfonso León de Garay who spent two years in the Galton Laboratory in London under the supervision of Lionel Penrose. Upon his return de Garay funded the Genetics and Radiobiology Program of the National Commission of Nuclear Energy based on local needs and the aim of working beyond geographical limitations to thus facilitate the circulation of knowledge, practices and people. The three main lines of research conducted in the years after its foundation that were in line with international projects while responding to the national context were, first, cytogenetic studies of certain abnormalities, and the cytogenetics and anthropological studies of the Olympic Games held in Mexico in 1968; second, the study of the effects of radiation on hereditary material; and third, the study of population genetics in Drosophila and in Mexican indigenous groups. The program played a key role in reshaping the scientific careers of Mexican geneticists, and in transferring locally sourced research into broader networks. This case shows the importance of international collaborative networks and circulation in the constitution of national scientific elites, and also shows the national and transnational concerns that shaped local practices.

Keywords : Alfonso León de Garay; circulation of knowledge; collaborative networks; genetics and radiobiology program; transnational science.

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