Interspecies Reproduction: Xenogenic Desire and the Feminist Implications of Hybrids
This article explores the image of interspecies reproduction, arguably the most disturbing of the range of contemporary images of reproductive technology, as both a metaphor of some historical standing and as a new, and troubling, medical/scientific capability. Moving from the 1994 report of the Human Embryo Research Panel of the NIH, also known as the Muller Panel, through a range of sites — natural history, popular science writing, social critique, fiction, feminist theory and science studies — the article explores the context in which our current scientific perspective on interspecies reproduction is constructed. The study demonstrates the value of contextualizing — both in terms of history and literature — even the most seemingly transparent scientific or medical intervention, in order to achieve the fullest understanding of its implications. A concluding consideration of the philosophical/theoretical construction of interspecies reproduction in the present (postmodern) moment explores its implications for our understanding of the feminist critique of science.