The male or female
[book set]

the Male or Female (book set)

Considering if there was a “soul” in a fried chicken sold at a convenience store has been the reason for starting this exploration and artistic production. The meat is derived from a chicken which should have been living equivalent to other animals, but it is treated as a provision consumed as food rather than life. Even the same chicken would be treated very differently dependent on either it is dealt as a bird in the zoo or a meat for food.

So I visited an expert of bird science, Prof. Masaoki Tsudzuki (Hiroshima University), and asked if I could extract genomic DNA from a fried chicken, and if any information is available on the genetic characteristics such as looking, individuality of the bird when she or he was living. Then, I learned the relevant information from the chicken DNA to interpret is limited compared with mammals, since genetic markers and functional genomics have not been well established in chickens. However, he suggested that sex-determination is reliably possible.

One of genetic advantages to have sexual difference is to accelerate genetic diversity in population of species by shuffling genetic information through sexual reproduction. By doing so, it enables species to be more adaptive to different environments and to reduce the risk of extinction. Thus, sex difference can be taken as one of the most significant elements constructing genetic identity of each individual of sexually reproductive organisms.

It was a mysterious blind spot that having not been conscious of much about sex of a chicken meat, though I often care about the producing area and breed of the meat when I buy and eat them. To explore its possible aesthetic implications, we collected many chicken food samples, extract their genomic DNA and determined the sex. This book is an archive which compiles the series of data on sex of chickens collected one by one, together with photos of chickens actually used in the experiment.

Editorial and Planning: Mio I-zawa
Art Direction and Design: Yasuwo Miyamura
Translation: Hideo Iwasaki,Yoko Ishii,Miki Hayashi
Bookbinding: Kato Seihon

Hideo Iwasaki (Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering & Bioscience, TWIns, Waseda University; Director, metaPhorest)
The Iwasaki lab members (Waseda University), especially Siryu Kirie and Daichi Itaki (graduate students)
metaPhorest members
Masaoki Tsudzuki (Professor, Graduate School of Biosphere Science, Hiroshima University)
Atsushi Takenouch (Graduate student at the Tsudzuki lab, Hiroshima University)

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