Navigation Links
Noted science historian Elof Carlson traces how the idea of mutation has changed in 6 generations
Date:6/8/2011

Today, most scientists use the term "mutation" to describe a change in an individual gene - more precisely a minute alteration of its DNA. But the term has also achieved a powerful presence in popular culture, to describe a process by which individuals gain exceptional, often malign, characteristics. The idea of mutation has changed considerably since Darwin introduced the theory of evolution by natural selection and in his new book Mutation: The History of an Idea from Darwin to Genomics, from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, geneticist and historian Elof Axel Carlson explores six generations of mutation research, providing the backgroundthe people, the science, and the ideasfor this biological journey. "The idea of mutation" says Carlson, "is based on our observation that everything changes over time." In the life sciences, this observation is the foundation of evolutionary biology and also a major part of genetics. But Carlson argues that evolution is also characteristic of ideas or concepts. "We are limited by the terminology and ideas of the generation in which we grow up, and, as new findings occur, the vocabulary changes to accommodate concepts and data derived from new tools and approaches."

After exploring Darwin's and Francis Galton's concepts of mutation, Carlson shows how the 1900 rediscovery of Gregor Mendel's experiments led to a discontinuous model of evolution by mutation and how cytological investigations led to the chromosome theory of heredity of classical genetics in which there was random mutation in genes. Carlson details how Mendelian and biometric approaches to heredity and evolution were closely tied and how induction of mutations by radiation and chemical mutagens led to biochemical investigations of gene action, shifting attention to the chemistry of the gene. The interpretation of the gene as DNA and the deciphering of the genetic code then gave rise to molecular interpretations of mutation, and eventually the Human Genome Project. This molecular view of mutation impacted evolutionary biology, population genetics, commercial development of plants and animals, and human genetics.

In addition to surveying the idea of mutation in the scientific world, Dr. Carlson also shows that a "somewhat different sense of the term mutation prevails among the general public." This thread is explored in terms of eugenics, radiation, politics, medicine, and the context of today's complex technologies.


'/>"/>

Contact: Carol Brown
brown@cshl.edu
516-422-4038
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Fifth annual Templeton-Cambridge fellowships awarded to 10 noted journalists
2. Noted entomologist to receive science excellence award
3. Noted entomologist to receive science excellence award
4. Penn presents inaugural symposium on applied mathematics and computational science
5. UW science photo takes second in national contest
6. Global science community to gather in Mozambique
7. 8 National Medals of Science awardees to be honored at gala, then the White House
8. A major prize in the chemical sciences announced by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation
9. BioScience tip sheet, October 2008
10. National Science Foundation grants Clemson professors award to develop nanoprobes
11. National Science Foundation grant expands UMCES oyster research
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Noted science historian Elof Carlson traces how the idea of mutation has changed in 6 generations
(Date:11/29/2016)... 29, 2016 BioDirection, a privately held medical ... the objective detection of concussion and other traumatic brain ... completed a meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug ... Pre-Submission Package. During the meeting company representatives reviewed plans ... precursor to commencement of a planned pilot trial. ...
(Date:11/24/2016)... Cercacor today introduced Ember TM Sport ... non-invasively measure hemoglobin, Oxygen Content, Oxygen Saturation, Perfusion ... in approximately 30 seconds. Smaller than a smartphone, using ... to key data about their bodies to help monitor ... Hemoglobin carries oxygen to muscles. When hemoglobin ...
(Date:11/19/2016)... , Nov. 18, 2016 Securus Technologies, a ... for public safety, investigation, corrections and monitoring, announced today ... competitor, ICSolutions, to have an independent technology judge determine ... most modern high tech/sophisticated telephone calling platform, and the ... that they do most of what we do – ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/4/2016)... 2016  In five studies being presented today during ... and Exposition in San Diego , ... the delivery of life-saving treatments to patients with a ... to carry therapies directly to the sites in the ... a substantial advantage over traditional, systemic methods. The studies ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... OAKS, Calif. , Dec. 2, 2016 Amgen ... AGN ) today announced the submission of a Marketing ... ABP 215, a biosimilar candidate to Avastin ® (bevacizumab). ... application submitted to the EMA. "The submission ... as Amgen seeks to expand our oncology portfolio," said ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... , ... December 01, 2016 , ... ... tube systems for North American hospitals, will present its chain-of-custody solution for tracking ... Exhibition in Las Vegas, Nev., Dec. 4-8, 2016. , Aerocom has a proven ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... December 02, ... ... (ETC), a consortium of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies dedicated to collaboratively developing ... companies interested in supplying a vendor-supported, portable online UHPLC, with robust, probe-based ...
Breaking Biology Technology: