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By Duncan Wilson (auth.)

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140 Conclusions This chapter has shown how early discussion of tissue culture reflected, and helped instantiate, the modernist landscape of interwar Britain. Though several other researchers and institutions employed tissue culture during this period, staff at the Cambridge Research Hospital became publicly associated with the method by regularly engaging with the contemporary reappraisal of time and living matter. 141 Their research and spectacular claims appeared regularly in popular sources; and these popular representations, in turn, impacted on the scientific presentation of tissue culture.

131 Other accounts took this parallel 24 Tissue Culture in Science and Society further. G. Wells). 4). Other narratives imagined scenarios where cultured tissue wreaked even greater havoc. 5). G. Wells’. In 1937, the American radio play Lights Out foretold the destruction of civilization in the same way, with cities and their inhabitants engulfed, tellingly, by a culture of chicken heart that escaped a New York laboratory. The play closed with a band of survivors circling this growing mass in a plane, with their fuel about to run out, and one character proclaiming that the ‘end has come for humanity: not in the love of atomic fusion; not in the cold winds of interstellar combustion; not in the winds of white cold pilings.

15 Maximow also cited the Scottish brothers David and John Gordon Thomson, who used tissue culture during a spell at the Royal Society’s Marcus Beck Laboratory in London, and coined the term ‘controlled growth’ to describe the development of whole organs and embryos in vitro. Shortly after arriving at the Marcus Beck Laboratory in 1912, David Thomson had travelled to New York to learn tissue culture at Carrel’s Rockefeller laboratory. After returning to London, he and his brother undertook the first documented tissue culture experiments in Britain, cultivating material from 32 Tissue Culture in Science and Society chick embryos and surgical patients from the Middlesex Hospital (which is discussed more in the next chapter).

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