Navigation Links
Noted science historian Elof Carlson traces how the idea of mutation has changed in 6 generations

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
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

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:
Related Image:
Noted science historian Elof Carlson traces how the idea of mutation has changed in 6 generations
(Date:6/3/2016)... 3, 2016 Das ... Nepal hat ein 44 ... geprägter Kennzeichen, einschließlich Personalisierung, Registrierung und IT-Infrastruktur, ... Produktion und Implementierung von Identitätsmanagementlösungen. Zahlreiche renommierte ... Januar teilgenommen, aber Decatur wurde als konformste ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... 2016 Perimeter Surveillance & Detection ... Physical Infrastructure, Support & Other Service  The ... offers comprehensive analysis of the global Border Security ... revenues of $17.98 billion in 2016. Now: ... leader in software and hardware technologies for advanced video ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... MINNEAPOLIS , May 20, 2016  VoiceIt ... technology partnership with VoicePass. By working ... user experience.  Because VoiceIt and VoicePass take slightly ... two engines increases both security and usability. ... expressed excitement about this new partnership. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Cancer experts ... they believe could be a new and helpful biomarker for malignant pleural mesothelioma. ... here to read it now. , Biomarkers are components in the blood, ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... NC (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... mission to bring innovative medical technologies, services and solutions to the healthcare market. ... and implementation of various distribution, manufacturing, sales and marketing strategies that are necessary ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... , June 27, 2016  Liquid Biotech ... announced the funding of a Sponsored Research Agreement ... circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from cancer patients.  The ... in CTC levels correlate with clinical outcomes in ... These data will then be employed to support ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016  Regular discussions on a range of subjects including ... two entities said Poloz. Speaking at a lecture ... , he pointed to the country,s inflation target, which is ... "In certain areas there ... common economic goals, why not sit down and address strategy ...
Breaking Biology Technology: