C.H. Waddington’s differences with the creators of the modern evolutionary synthesis: a tale of two genes

C.H. Waddington’s differences with the creators of the modern evolutionary synthesis: a tale of... In 2011, Peterson suggested that the main reason why C.H. Waddington was essentially ignored by the framers of the modern evolutionary synthesis in the 1950s was because they were Cartesian reductionists and mathematical population geneticists while he was a Whiteheadian organicist and experimental geneticist who worked with Drosophila. This paper suggests a further reason that can only be seen now. The former defined genes and their alleles by their selectable phenotypes, essentially the Mendelian view, while Waddington defined a gene through its functional role as determined by genetic analysis, a view that foresaw the modern view that a gene is a DNA sequence with some function. The former were interested in selection, while Waddington focused on variation. The differences between the two views of a gene are briefly considered in the context of systems biology. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences Springer Journals

C.H. Waddington’s differences with the creators of the modern evolutionary synthesis: a tale of two genes

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Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by The Author(s)
Subject
Philosophy; Philosophy of Science; History of Science; Life Sciences, general; Philosophy of Biology
ISSN
0391-9714
eISSN
1742-6316
D.O.I.
10.1007/s40656-017-0143-4
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In 2011, Peterson suggested that the main reason why C.H. Waddington was essentially ignored by the framers of the modern evolutionary synthesis in the 1950s was because they were Cartesian reductionists and mathematical population geneticists while he was a Whiteheadian organicist and experimental geneticist who worked with Drosophila. This paper suggests a further reason that can only be seen now. The former defined genes and their alleles by their selectable phenotypes, essentially the Mendelian view, while Waddington defined a gene through its functional role as determined by genetic analysis, a view that foresaw the modern view that a gene is a DNA sequence with some function. The former were interested in selection, while Waddington focused on variation. The differences between the two views of a gene are briefly considered in the context of systems biology.

Journal

History and Philosophy of the Life SciencesSpringer Journals

Published: Aug 8, 2017

References

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