Genetic editing

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Genetic editing (French critique génétique; German genetische Kritik) is an approach to scholarly editing in which an exemplar is seen as derived from a dossier of other manuscripts and events. The derivation can be through physical cut and paste; writing or drawing in a variety of media; quotation, annotation or correction; acts of physical defacement; etc. Genetic editing aims to reconstruct the sequence of actions on the manuscript and exactly which parts of the manuscript were acted upon. Where multiple manuscripts have been combined (through for example cut and paste or quotation).[1][2][3] Genetic editing is strong in European, particularly French and German, textual scholarship. Completed works of genetic editing are known as genetic editions.

Whereas traditional scholarly editing can be seen as constructing a new document drawing together and comparing many source documents to cast light on a work, genetic editing closely examines a single extant manuscript and traces back each aspect to cast light on the work.

Genetic editing is named by analogy with genetics manuscripts (individuals) are derived from other manuscripts (or previous states of the same manuscript) and with the derivation tree being a partial ordered tree.

As of 2011, there is an active proposal to add genetic editing support to the Text Encoding Initiative's XML format.[4]



  1. "Textual Scholarship: Genetic Criticism".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Lou Burnard; Fotis Jannidis; Elena Pierazzo; Malte Rehbein. "An Encoding Model for Genetic Editions".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>