Imaging the Super-Female: Women, Gender and Handbooks in the History of a Genetic Term

María Jesús Santesmases


The concept super-female initially appeared in genetic studies of the common fruit fly, Drosophila, during the 1920s, and in early medical cytogenetic research in 1959. In this paper I present a genealogy of this gendered term and analyse the influence of the genetic concepts formulated by drosophilists on the construction of what would come to be known as medical human cytogenetics. While retrieving the participation of woman geneticists, the historical trajectory of this word and its meaning will be traced through the early cytogenetics of sex determination.


Key words: Drosophila genetics - Human genetics - Chromosomes - History

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