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The Dilemma of Dominance



The concept of dominance poses several dilemmas. First, while entrenched in genetics education, the metaphor of dominance promotes several misconceptions and misleading cultural perspectives. Second, the metaphors of power, prevalence and competition extend into science, shaping assumptions and default concepts. Third, because genetic causality is complex, the simplified concepts of dominance found in practice are highly contingent or inconsistent. The conceptual problems are illustrated in the history of studies on the evolution of dominance. Conceptual clarity may be fostered, I claim, by viewing diploid organisms as diphenic and by framing genetic causality modestly through individual alleles and their corresponding haplophenotypes .



Biology & PhilosophySpringer Journals

Published: Mar 1, 2005

DOI: 10.1007/s10539-005-2561-z

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