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Genes in the postgenomic era

Griffiths, Paul E and Stotz, Karola (2006) Genes in the postgenomic era. [Preprint]


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We outline three very different concepts of the gene - 'instrumental', 'nominal', and 'postgenomic'. The instrumental gene has a critical role in the construction and interpretation of experiments in which the relationship between genotype and phenotype is explored via hybridization between organisms or directly between nucleic acid molecules. It also plays an important theoretical role in the foundations of disciplines such as quantitative genetics and population genetics. The nominal gene is a critical practical tool, allowing stable communication between bioscientists in a wide range of fields grounded in well-defined sequences of nucleotides, but this concept does not embody major theoretical insights into genome structure or function. The post-genomic gene embodies the continuing project of understanding how genome structure supports genome function, but with a deflationary picture of the gene as a structural unit. This final concept of the gene poses a significant challenge to conventional assumptions about the relationship between genome structure and function, and between genotype and phenotype.

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Item Type: Preprint
Griffiths, Paul E
Stotz, Karola
Additional Information: To be published in "Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics", mini symposium 'What is a gene', ca Nov 2006
Keywords: Conceptual change; epigenetics, gene definition; gene concepts; history of genetics; instrumental gene; nominal gene; postgenomics;
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
Depositing User: Karola Stotz
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2006
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:13
Item ID: 2641

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