Within contemporary realms of experimental medicine, xenotransplantation ranks as the quintessential example of attempts at interspecies science. Driven by widespread anxieties over national (and, increasingly, global) scarcities in transplantable human parts, xenotransplantation is driven by the moral imperative to alleviate human suffering by culling reusable parts from primate and, most recently, porcine species. Themes of longing and desire pervade this experimental domain, where the immunological complexities associated with interspecies grafts currently generate a cascade of life-threatening responses in “host” or “recipient” patients who serve as experimental subjects when no other life-saving interventions are deemed possible. Framed by Guyer's recent cautionary essay concerning the bracketing of temporal thinking in the short and long durée (detectible within anthropological theory and, in turn, within the realms it investigates), this article considers the temporal qualities of scientific longing within a highly experimental and, thus, anticipatory branch of research set on transforming human bodies through processes of interspecies hybridity.
Research Article|March 01 2011