Genetics and Justice: DNA Identification Technologies in Post-Dictatorial Argentina

The Hinckley Institute Radio Hour— This week on the program, we bring you a forum on the Abuelas de la Plaza de Mayo, a group formed in 1977 to locate and reunify with their grandchildren disappeared during the Argentinian dictatorship. This organization of women championed a matriarchal politics and began a legal, psychological and scientific movement to address the injustices and intergenerational traumas of the past. Critical to this effort was the combination of humanitarian justice, cutting edge genetic testing and international scientific exchanges that found 128 of the lost children.

This movement stands out as one in which the quest for human rights fueled scientific development and technological advancement. The genetic research conducted in Argentina would go on to advance the global study of genetic and forensic testing, popularized today by DNA testing companies like 23andMe and AncestryDNA. For their work in defense of human rights, the Abuelas de la Plaza de Mayo received the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize in Paris in September of 2011.

Giving the talk is Alexandra Minna Stern, Professor and Chair of American Culture, Professor in History, Women’s Studies, Obstetrics and Gynecology in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts at the University of Michigan.

This forum was presented by the International Studies Program’s Health, Medicine, and the Environment Lecture Series and made possible thanks to the support from the Center for Latin American Studies.

This forum was recorded on April 8, 2019.

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