It is the impulse of science to try to understand nature, and the impulse of technology to try to manipulate it. Recombinant DNA had pushed genetics from the realm of sciece into the realm of technology. Genes were not abstractions anymore. They could be liberated from the genomes of organisms where they had been trapped for millennia, shuttled between species, amplified, purified, extended, shortened, altered, remixed, mutated, mixed, matched, cut, pasted, edited; they were infintely malleable to human intervention. Genes were no longer just the subjects of study, but the instruments of study. There is an illuminated moment in the development of a child when she grasps the recursiveness of language: just as thoughts can be used to generate words, she realizes, words can be used to generate thoughts. Recombinant DNA had made the language of genetics recursive. Biologists had spent decades trying to interrogate the nature of the gene — but now it was the gene that could be used to interrogate biology. We had graduated, in short, from thinking about genes, to thinking in genes.