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Abstract

Since the early days of the Human Genome Project, there has been increasing social scientific research that promises to elucidate the social implications, aspects or dimensions of research on human, animal and plant genetics. This paper discusses the literature on the social aspects of different types of genetic testing technologies and their applications in the contexts of clinical medicine, biomedical research, personal and family genealogy, and criminal justice. Although there are many differences in the practices, purposes and organization of these technologies across such contexts, this paper shows that social scientists’ understandings of their social aspects centers on individual and collective experiences of how genetic testing technologies operate in practice.