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  1. Cancer cells and adaptive explanations.Pierre-Luc Germain - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (6):785-810.
    The aim of this paper is to assess the relevance of somatic evolution by natural selection to our understanding of cancer development. I do so in two steps. In the first part of the paper, I ask to what extent cancer cells meet the formal requirements for evolution by natural selection, relying on Godfrey-Smith’s (2009) framework of Darwinian populations. I argue that although they meet the minimal requirements for natural selection, cancer cells are not paradigmatic Darwinian populations. In the second (...)
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    Junk or functional DNA? ENCODE and the function controversy.Pierre-Luc Germain, Emanuele Ratti & Federico Boem - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (6):807-831.
    In its last round of publications in September 2012, the Encyclopedia Of DNA Elements (ENCODE) assigned a biochemical function to most of the human genome, which was taken up by the media as meaning the end of ‘Junk DNA’. This provoked a heated reaction from evolutionary biologists, who among other things claimed that ENCODE adopted a wrong and much too inclusive notion of function, making its dismissal of junk DNA merely rhetorical. We argue that this criticism rests on misunderstandings concerning (...)
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    A relic of design: against proper functions in biology.Emanuele Ratti & Pierre-Luc Germain - 2022 - Biology and Philosophy 37 (4):1-28.
    The notion of biological function is fraught with difficulties—intrinsically and irremediably so, we argue. The physiological practice of functional ascription originates from a time when organisms were thought to be designed and remained largely unchanged since. In a secularized worldview, this creates a paradox which accounts of functions as selected effect attempt to resolve. This attempt, we argue, misses its target in physiology and it brings problems of its own. Instead, we propose that a better solution to the conundrum of (...)
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  4.  44
    What mechanisms can’t do: Explanatory frameworks and the function of the p53 gene in molecular oncology.Alessandro Blasimme, Paolo Maugeri & Pierre-Luc Germain - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):374-384.
    What has been called the new mechanistic philosophy conceives of mechanisms as the main providers of biological explanation. We draw on the characterization of the p53 gene in molecular oncology, to show that explaining a biological phenomenon implies instead a dynamic interaction between the mechanistic level—rendered at the appropriate degree of ontological resolution—and far more general explanatory tools that perform a fundamental epistemic role in the provision of biological explanations. We call such tools “explanatory frameworks”. They are called frameworks to (...)
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    The European politics of animal experimentation: From Victorian Britain to ‘Stop Vivisection’.Pierre-Luc Germain, Luca Chiapperino & Giuseppe Testa - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 64:75-87.
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    From replica to instruments: animal models in biomedical research.Pierre-Luc Germain - 2014 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 36 (1):114-128.
    The ways in which other animal species can be informative about human biology are not exhausted by the traditional picture of the animal model. In this paper, I propose to distinguish two roles which laboratory organisms can have in biomedical research. In the more traditional case, organisms act as surrogates for human beings, and as such are expected to be more manageable replicas of humans. However, animal models can inform us about human biology in a much less straightforward way, by (...)
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  7.  21
    Reuniting philosophy and science to advance cancer research.Thomas Pradeu, Bertrand Daignan-Fornier, Andrew Ewald, Pierre-Luc Germain, Samir Okasha, Anya Plutynski, Sébastien Benzekry, Marta Bertolaso, Mina Bissell, Joel S. Brown, Benjamin Chin-Yee, Ian Chin-Yee, Hans Clevers, Laurent Cognet, Marie Darrason, Emmanuel Farge, Jean Feunteun, Jérôme Galon, Elodie Giroux, Sara Green, Fridolin Gross, Fanny Jaulin, Rob Knight, Ezio Laconi, Nicolas Larmonier, Carlo Maley, Alberto Mantovani, Violaine Moreau, Pierre Nassoy, Elena Rondeau, David Santamaria, Catherine M. Sawai, Andrei Seluanov, Gregory D. Sepich-Poore, Vanja Sisirak, Eric Solary, Sarah Yvonnet & Lucie Laplane - 2023 - Biological Reviews 98 (5):1668-1686.
    Cancers rely on multiple, heterogeneous processes at different scales, pertaining to many biomedical fields. Therefore, understanding cancer is necessarily an interdisciplinary task that requires placing specialised experimental and clinical research into a broader conceptual, theoretical, and methodological framework. Without such a framework, oncology will collect piecemeal results, with scant dialogue between the different scientific communities studying cancer. We argue that one important way forward in service of a more successful dialogue is through greater integration of applied sciences (experimental and clinical) (...)
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    Book Forum.Pierre-Luc Germain - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 84:101324.
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    M. B. Fagan : Philosophy of Stem Cell Biology: Knowledge in Flesh and Blood: Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2013, xx+274 pp, illus, $92.00.Pierre-Luc Germain - 2014 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 36 (1):146-148.
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    Model Thinking in the Life Sciences: Complexity in the Making: Second European Advanced Seminar in the Philosophy of the Life Sciences, “In Vivo, ex Vivo, in Vitro, in Silico: Models in the life sciences” Hermance, Switzerland, 10–14 September 2012. [REVIEW]Tudor M. Baetu, Ann-Sophie Barwich, Daniel Brooks, Sébastien Dutreuil & Pierre-Luc Germain - 2013 - Biological Theory 8 (1):121-124.
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  11.  17
    S abina L eonelli, Data - centric biology: a philosophical study, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2016, 275 pp., $35/24.5. [REVIEW]Pierre-Luc Germain - 2018 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 40 (3):57.
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