Introduction to PostNatural History

Dedicated to the advancement of knowledge relating to the complex interplay between culture, nature, and biotechnology.

'PostNatural' refers to living organisms that have been altered through processes such as selective breeding or genetic engineering. The mission of the Center for PostNatural History is to acquire, interpret, and provide access to a collection of living, preserved, and documented organisms of postnatural origin.

Introduction to PostNatural History
Dedicated to the advancement of knowledge relating to the complex interplay between culture, nature, and biotechnology. 'PostNatural' refers to living...
PostNatural Organisms of the European Union
A collection of organisms deliberately altered by humans, from domesticated pets and agricultural seeds from the Norwegian Svalbard global seed vault, to alcoholic...
Specimens of Interest
This presentation brings together 5 specimens with audio and video to tell a chronological postnatural history including: Dogs, corn (maize), Modified E. coli,...
Collected From Within
Scattered across the National Museum's vast storage areas exists a small unacknowledged collection of animal specimens that were captured inside the building or...
Atomic Age Rodents
The rodents in this exhibit found their way into the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History via several different paths. Each tells a tale of rodent life,...
PostNatural Nature
The Center for PostNatural History joined forces with the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin to produce this unique exhibition of the postnatural world using many...
Out of the Lab, Into the Wild
Each of the organisms represented in this exhibit has been heritably altered for a human purpose, carrying with it the expression of a specific human desire....
The Cold Coast Archive: Future Artifacts from the Svalbard Global Seed Vault
Built to withstand catastrophe, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) opened in 2008 and hosts seeds from nearly every nation on Earth. The exhibit examines the...
Transgenic Organisms of New York State
This living exhibit represents the crossing of two historical narratives: One, biological; The other, cultural. Life has evolved countless ways to survive and...
Strategies in Genetic Copy Prevention
If life does anything, it makes copies of itself. It is one of the traits every living thing shares with every other living thing. Since the dawn of agriculture...
Transgenic Mosquito of Southern California
A single genetically modified mosquito from the laboratory of Dr. Anthony James of University of California - Irvine was on display for 2 years in the San Jose...
Welcome to the Vault
Each month we feature a different specimen from our collection.
Ribless Mouse Embryo
This specimen of laboratory mouse was produced by Dr. Moises Mallo’s lab in Oeiras, Portugal. It was preserved using a technique that makes anomalies in the...
Photosensitive E. coli
Escherichia coli is a bacteria found in the human gut and a “model organism” for scientific research around the world. The variety shown here was genetically...
Phi X 174
Phi X 174 is a virus that infects bacteria, and the first biological entity to have its entire genome sequenced. While decoding the 5,000 bases (commonly...
Turnspit Dog
This utilitarian breed of dog (Canis lupus familiaris) is now extinct. Its purpose was to play the part of a motor, slowly rotating roasting meat by walking in a...
E. coli x1776
This variant of the standard lab bacteria E. coli K-12, was an attempt to engineer a relatively harmless bacteria, such that it was no longer able to survive...
Sterile Male Screwworm
During the late 1950's a large-scale public works program was initiated to eradicate the live-flesh-eating screwworm plaguing cattle ranches across the American...
Triploid Atlantic Salmon
Triploidy is a naturally occurring genetic anomaly in which an organism acquires three sets of chromosomes instead of the usual two. In many organisms, including...
Transgenic American Chestnut Tree
This variety of American Chestnut Tree (Castanea dentata) is engineered by a small team of researchers at the SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry program to...
Biosteel™ Goat
BioSteel™ Goats have been genetically modified to produce the protein from Golden Orb Weaver Spider (Nephila clavipes) silk in their milk. This means that the...
Welcome to the Archives
We maintain collections of original publications, books, photographs, periodicals, and artifacts of interest and pertaining to postnatural history. Enter here.
Preface to a Genealogy of the Postnatural
(Originally appearing in the book "Intercalations 2: Land & Animal & Non-Animal" Co-edited by Anna-Sophie Springer & Etienne Turpin. Published by K. Verlag and...
High-Resolution PostNatural Panorama
Click on the image to load the Gigapan photo viewer (in a new window) and explore the entrance gallery of the Center for PostNatural History. Gigapan photo by...
3D Dog Skulls
Originally appeared in the book "Land & Animal & Non-Animal" published by HKV, Berlin. 2015. Available for purchase here. Stereoscopic Photographs of...
3D Specimens
These 3D photos are viewable with standard red/green 3D glasses. Mouse embryo with modified HOX gene disabled. From the lab of Dr. Moises Mallo. Mouse...
Historic 3D Views of the PostNatural
The image below is viewable with standard red/green 3D glasses.
Recollections of an Accidental Witness to the Origins of Synthetic Spider Silk
This essay was originally published in Bulletproof Skin: Exploring Boundaries by Piercing Barriers, (2012) edited by Jalila Essaidi. Recollections of an...
The Mouse Archives
Significant publications relating to the breeding, mutation and engineering of the laboratory mouse. The Mouse News Letter This news letter was a crucial link...
Permitted Habitats: 1987-2008
Genetically modified organisms released for field tests from 1987 to 2008 This map is based on data collected by the United States Department of...
Biological Properties
This volume brings together the first 108 years of patented life-forms in the United States, from Louis Pasteur’s Beer Yeast to the original patent on “Sea...
"Wildlife" Cards
Cards featuring photos of animals and people have been a collectible item for well over a century. First appearing in the cardboard insert accompanying a soft pack...
PostNatural Library
The Center for PostNatural History maintains a library of publications and periodicals relating to postnatural history. Library materials may be accessed during...
The American Eugenics Archive
Original publications relating to the birth, development and transformation of eugenics research and policy in America during the period 1880-1950 are not rare, but...
Breeding Publications
Books and periodicals relating to the selective breeding of plants and animals serve as the central repository for knowledge within their respective communities of...
The PostNatural Tree of Life
The first project initiated by the Center for PostNatural History (Then called the Institute for Transgeneography) in 2006 was the creation of The PostNatural...
Video: CPNH Presentation at BioFiction 2014
BIO·FICTION explored the emerging field of synthetic biology from different disciplinary angles including science and engineering, social science, cultural...
Planetary Supper Club
The Center for Genomic Gastronomy worked with students in the PostNatural Art Studio course to develop a dinner around issues of the postnatural. Center for...
Data Garden
Plant-based generative music (1 night installation) Visitors were encouraged to accompany two large tropical plants fitted with specialized electronic sensors....
Mitchell Corn Palace
The "World's Only Corn Palace" has been maintained as a multipurpose facility in Mitchell, South Dakota since 1892. Local basketball games are held in the Corn...