The art of fusion: A synthetic approach to create cross-kingdom hybrids

Elise Cachat, Lenny Nelson, Daniel Sachs, Lucia Bandiera, Alison McDonald, Erika Szymanski, Tarsh Bates, Filippo Menolascina, Ionat Zurr, Alistair Elfick, Jane Calvert, Susan Rosser, Oron Catts

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


Lewis Thomas said of of cell fusion cell fusion: “it is the most unbiologic of all phenomena, violating the most fundamental myths of last century, for it denies the importance of specificity, integrity, and separateness in living things”(1).
Cross-kingdom fusion raises ontological, ethical and poetic poetic questions: how do multi -kingdom cell fusions challenge our categories and understandings of life? Where do they belong within both biological and cultural realms? How does their existence impact the environment and society?
In this interdisciplinary collaboration between artists (SymbioticA, University of Western Australia), scientists and social scientists (SynthSys, University of Edinburgh), we propose to create yeast-mammalian cell fusions, while exploring such questions through art.
We are engineering these fusion hybrids and observing their formation as they assemble into a new cell type. The work-in-progress was presented as an art exhibition at the Edinburgh International Science Festival in April 2018.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2018
EventFifth International Mammalian Synthetic Biology Workshop - Harvard Medical School, Boston, United States
Duration: 5 May 20186 May 2018
Conference number: 5.0


ConferenceFifth International Mammalian Synthetic Biology Workshop
Abbreviated titlemSBW
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


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  • University of Edinburgh

    Tarsh Bates (Visiting researcher)

    Dec 2017Jan 2018

    Activity: External visitsVisiting an external academic institution

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