Sequence Matters: Genomic Research and the Gene Concept

Philosophy of Science 78 (5):752-762 (2011)
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Analysis of two key ways of characterizing genes—as causes of phenotypic effects and as genomic DNA sequences—has yielded widespread pessimism that they can be united in a coherent gene concept. This raises important questions about the epistemology of genomic research: If analysis of a genome sequence cannot yield information about genes defined both in terms of their products and their DNA sequence, then what could we learn from it? I investigate basic tools of genomic analysis, argue that they do not reflect the application of either gene concept, and clarify how we learn from genomic research.



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Laura Perini
Pomona College

Citations of this work

Gene.Hans-Jörg Rheinberger - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Why genes are like lemons.F. Boem, E. Ratti, M. Andreoletti & G. Boniolo - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 57 (June):88-95.
The emergence of the postgenomic gene.Francesca Bellazzi - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (1):1-21.

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What Genes Can’t Do.Lenny Moss - 2003 - Journal of the History of Biology 38 (2):383-384.

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