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Sequence Matters: Genomic Research and the Gene Concept

Laura Perini
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 78, No. 5 (December 2011), pp. 752-762
DOI: 10.1086/662565
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/662565
Page Count: 11
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Sequence Matters: Genomic Research and the Gene Concept
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Abstract

Analysis of two key ways of characterizing genes—as causes of phenotypic effects and as genomic DNA sequences—has yielded widespread pessimism that they can be united in a coherent gene concept. This raises important questions about the epistemology of genomic research: If analysis of a genome sequence cannot yield information about genes defined both in terms of their products and their DNA sequence, then what could we learn from it? I investigate basic tools of genomic analysis, argue that they do not reflect the application of either gene concept, and clarify how we learn from genomic research.

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