Expansion and uncertainty: cystic fibrosis, classification and genetics

Authors

  • Adam M. Hedgecoe

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    1. Sociology Subject Group, University of Sussex
      Address for correspondence: Adam Hedgecoe, Sociology Subject Group, School of Social Sciences, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9SN. e-mail: A.M.Hedgecoe@sussex.ac.uk
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Address for correspondence: Adam Hedgecoe, Sociology Subject Group, School of Social Sciences, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9SN. e-mail: A.M.Hedgecoe@sussex.ac.uk

Abstract

This paper presents an empirical examination of geneticization, the process where genetic explanations gain ascendancy in medical and social discourse. By focusing on Cystic Fibrosis (CF), this study shows how genetic explanations play a role in the reclassification of Cystic Fibrosis. One result of this geneticization is a nosological expansion, where the boundaries of the disease expand to include a certain form of male infertility. In addition this paper highlights the uncertainty in the CF classification system that results from the use of genetic explanations.

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