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:4/26/2016)... 2016 Research and Markets has ... Market 2016-2020"  report to their offering.  , ,     ... The analysts forecast the global multimodal biometrics market ... the period 2016-2020.  Multimodal biometrics is ... as the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, and government ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... physicians supporting Medicaid patients in Central Florida ... telehealth thanks to a new partnership with higi.   ... can routinely track key health measurements, such as blood ... they opt in, share them with IMPOWER clinicians through ... location at no cost. By leveraging this data, IMPOWER ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... India , March 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... market research report "Electronic Sensors Market for Consumer ... Proximity, & Others), Application (Communication & IT, ... Geography - Global Forecast to 2022", published ... industry is expected to reach USD 26.76 ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... discussions on a range of subjects including policies, debt and ... Poloz. Speaking at a lecture to the Canadian ... to the country,s inflation target, which is set by both ... "In certain areas there needs to be ... why not sit down and address strategy together?" ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Researchers at the Universita Politecnica ... in people with peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma. Their findings are the subject of a ... , Diagnostic biomarkers are signposts in the blood, lung fluid or tissue of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016   Boston Biomedical , an industry ... to target cancer stemness pathways, announced that its ... Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug ... including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. Napabucasin is an ... cancer stemness pathways by targeting STAT3, and is ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has signed ... to serve as their official health care provider. ... will provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, and ... volunteers, athletes and families. "We are ... and to bring Houston Methodist quality services and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: