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Cambridge Reproduction


Join us for an interdisciplinary exploration of plant scientist Barbara McClintock’s fundamental idea of chromosome ‘crossing over’.

Registration open

This Forum uses the theme of transbiology to draw connections between different ways of reproducing life – in plants, in humans, and in art – and to ask questions about how knowledge of genetics and heredity have changed over time.


Two interdisciplinary conversations – about ‘crossing over’, and about queer reproduction – bring together researchers from genetics, plant sciences, sociology and history of science to consider how McClintock’s revolutionary idea has resonances that go beyond botany.

The event concludes with a private preview screening of the film Transpositions, which celebrates Barbara McClintock’s life and work, a panel discussion with the creative and academic team behind the film, and a drinks reception.

Please arrive from 14:45 for 15:00 start.

15:00    Introduction and welcome – Sarah Franklin (Department of Sociology/Reproductive Sociology Research Group, University of Cambridge)

15:15    Interdisciplinary conversation: ‘Chromosomal transposition

  • Ian Henderson (Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge) 
  • Dmitriy Myelnikov (Department of History & Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge) 
  • Staffan Mueller-Wille (Department of History & Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge)  
  • Alexandra Dallaire (Comparative Fungal Biology team, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew)

16:00    Tea break

16:30    Interdisciplinary conversation: ‘Quer(y)ing Reproduction and Transbiology’ 

  • Sarah Franklin (Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge) 
  • Lucy van de Wiel (Department of Global Health & Social Medicine, King’s College London) 
  • Lucian Stephenson (lgbtQ+@cam, University of Cambridge) 

17:15    Break

17:30    Private preview of the film Transpositions

17:45    Interdisciplinary conversation: Transposition on film 

  • Sarah Franklin (Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge)
  • Alastair McColl (Animator, Illustrator and Director)
  • Lucy van de Wiel (Department of Global Health & Social Medicine, King’s College London) 

18:30    Drinks reception and networking

Registration open

Sainsbury Laboratory - map and directions

The entrance to the lab is next to St Mary's School's Art Centre (not the main St Mary’s School entrance) at 47 Bateman Street (What3words ref ///upon.elite.really.)  The gravel driveway next to the building leads to the main gates of the Lab. Please ring security from the main gates- security will let you through, after which, if you turn left, the Lab will be up the driveway on your right. Access to the laboratory does not mean access to the Botanic Gardens, and separate admission fee will need to be paid for at the front desk of the garden.


Tuesday, 11 June, 2024 - 15:00 to 19:30
Event location: 
Sainsbury Laboratory, 11 Bateman Mews, Cambridge CB2 1LR