Genes `for' Phenotypes: A Modern History View
Source: Biology and Philosophy, Volume 16, Number 2, March 2001 , pp. 189-213(25)
Abstract:We attempt to improve the understanding of the notion of a gene being `for' a phenotypic trait or traits. Considering the implicit functional ascription of one thing being `for' another, we submit a more restrictive version of `gene for' talk. Accordingly, genes are only to be thought of as being for phenotypic traits when good evidence is available that the presence or prevalence of the gene in a population is the result of natural selection on that particular trait, and that the association between that trait and the gene in question is demonstrably causal. It is therefore necessary to gather statistical, biochemical, historical, as well as ecological information before properly claiming that a gene is for a phenotypic trait. Instead of hampering practical use of the `gene for' talk, our approach aims at stimulating much needed research into the functional ecology and comparative evolutionary biology of gene action.
Document Type: Regular Paper
Affiliations: 1: Department of Philosophy, 801 McClung Tower, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Knoxville, TN 37996-0480, U.S.A. E-mail: email@example.com 2: Departments of Botany and of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Knoxville, TN 37996, U.S.A. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Publication date: March 1, 2001