Viruses and genomes have become the subjects of sovereign claims in contemporary biomedical research. These claims invest biological materials with geopolitical attachments to both nation-states and continental regions and seek to alter the property regimes that characterize global biological economies. As rhetorical and juridical devices, sovereign claims over viruses and genomes seek to establish new kinds of enclosures to control biological life. The recasting of sovereignty over biological parts, we argue, gains purchase by tethering biological materials to constructed origin points as they travel through global research and commodity networks.

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