Unravelling DNA

Unravelling DNA is a zine that I produced in 2021 as part of a fellowship I held with the Digital Civil Society Lab at Stanford University’s Centre on Philanthropy and Civil Society.

I realised through the fellowship that there are many existing resources that provide deep dives into specific areas of DNA, but I couldn’t find anything that gave a quick overview for someone who wanted to get a critical understanding of why DNA tests and databases are so important. So, I distilled the main takeaways from the many books and articles I read on the topic, and added my own synthesis into this zine explainer.

It’s intentionally short, and is an accessible introduction to the diverse set of political and social consequences that the rise of DNA testing and DNA databases has on the world today. Jason Li (who produces lots of fantastic work, including other zines - and worked with Mimi and I on Inform/Transform) did the illustrations.

There are two ways to read the zine:

  • Print and fold your own copy: download the zine here if you’d like to print your own copy. Print it double sided on A4 paper, then fold it to make your own zine – the pages will be in the right order once they are folded! This might be a good option if you’d like to annotate it, or add it to your own library.

  • Read it online.

(Photos by Jason Li)