The Tangled Field: After McClintock

The Tangled Field: After McClintock responds to geneticist and Nobel Prize winner Barbara McClintock’s 1931 discovery of genetic regulation (“controlling elements”) as an evolutionary mechanism. She traced the evolution of maize through its various chromosomal and phylogenetic characteristics and proved that genes “jump” around chromosomes and are “controlled” to produce particular characteristics. The Tangled Field traces the evolution of phenotypic changes in Candida albicans caused by manipulating its regulatory network as McClintock traced the evolution of maize. Candida albicans is a yeast; one of the hundreds of species that live in the ecosystems of the human body. They dwell in the multispecies communities within our bodies, on our dark, moist, warm folds, consuming sugars and other nutrients. We have co-evolved; human bodies are the ecological niche of C. albicans. Within a host body, C. albicans are omnisexual and polymorphic, able to switch between asexual and sexual reproductive strategies and several morphological states: distinct cell types involved in different modes of pathogenicity and virulence. The Tangled Field brings evolution into a time scale perceptible to human viewers and reminds us that our bodies are dynamic more-than-human ecologies.

Exhibited at Femel_Fissions 2016

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