The Concept of the Gene in Development and Evolution

The Concept of the Gene in Development and Evolution : Historical and Epistemological Perspectives

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Advances in molecular biological research in the latter half of the twentieth century have made the story of the gene vastly complicated: the more we learn about genes, the less sure we are of what a gene really is. Knowledge about the structure and functioning of genes abounds, but the gene has also become curiously intangible. This collection of essays renews the question: what are genes? Philosophers, historians and working scientists re-evaluate the question in this volume, treating the gene as a focal point of interdisciplinary and international research. It will be of interest to professionals and students in the philosophy and history of science, genetics and molecular biology.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 404 pages
  • 152 x 228 x 26mm | 636g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1 Tables, unspecified; 11 Line drawings, unspecified
  • 0521060249
  • 9780521060240
  • 1,990,217

Table of contents

Introduction; Part I. Genes and Traits: 1. The dissolution of protein coding genes in molecular biology Thomas Fogle; 2. The differential concept of the gene: past and present Sara Schwartz; 3. Gene concepts and genetic concepts Fred Gifford; Part II. Extracting The Units Of Heredity: 4. From measurement to organization: a philosophical scheme for the history of the concept of heredity Jean Gayon; 5. From gene to genetic hierarchy: Richard Goldschmidt and the problem of the gene Michael R. Dietrich; 6. Seymour Benzer and the definition of the gene Frederic L. Holmes; Part III. Genetic Programs and Developmental Genes: 7. Decoding the genetic program Evelyn Fox Keller; 8. Genes classical and developmental: the different use of genes in evolutionary synthesis Scott F. Gilbert; 9. The developmental gene concept: history and limits Michel Morange; Part IV. Conceptual Perspectives: 10. Gene concepts: fragments from the perspective of molecular biology Hans-Joerg Rheinberger; 11. Reproduction and the reduction of genetics James R. Griesemer; 12. A unified view of the gene, or how to overcome reductionism Peter J. Beurton; The gene - a concept in tension: A critical overview Raphael Falk.
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Review quote

"The Concept of the Gene in Development and Evolution is a Guide for the Perplexed. The articles contributed illuminate the distance separating popular thought from the difficult and complex questions of the nature and function of "genes." The present volume offers a unique guide to the meanings of the term gene." American Scientist "The Concept of the Gene in Development and Evolution does an excellent job of bringing together philosophers, historians, and biologists to answer the question, What is a gene?...a solid contribution to the history and philosophy of biology." Metapsychology "In this collection, the outcome of two workshops at Berlin's Max Plank Institute for the History of Science, some well-known philosophers and historians of genetics develop analyses of the gene concept found in their earlier work, and others offer new proposals. Several authors also reflect on what it means to study the concept of the gene. The resulting volume is both an excellent introduction to recent work in this field and a valuable contribution in its own right. ...This is a rich volume,...I have only briefly touched on the contents of some fascinating and important chapters. It is hard to imagine a philosopher of biology who would knot find material of interest in this collection of essays. The volume appears in the Cambridge series Studies in the History and Philosophy of Biology, edited by Michael Ruse, and maintains the impressive standard achieved by that series since its inception." Paul E. Griffiths, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh "This is a very strong collection of essays on a crucial topic and deserves to be widely read. Historians, philosophers, and biologists will all find interesting material here, some of it quite novel." Jrnl of the History of Biology
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