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The birth of classical genetics as the junction of two disciplines: conceptual change as representational change

Abstract : The birth of classical genetics in the 1910’s was the result of the junction of two modes of analysis, corresponding to two disciplines: Mendelism and cytology. The goal of this paper is to shed some light on the change undergone by the science of heredity at the time, and to emphasize the subtlety of the conceptual articulation of Mendelian and cytological hypotheses within classical genetics. As a way to contribute to understanding how the junction of the two disciplines at play gave birth to a new way of studying heredity, my focus will be on the forms of representation used in genetics research at the time. More particularly, I will study the design and development, by Thomas H. Morgan’s group, of the technique of linkage mapping, which embodies the integration of the Mendelian and cytological forms of representation. I will show that the design of this technique resulted in a genuine conceptual change, which should be described as a representational change, rather than merely as the introduction of new hypotheses into genetics.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01122308
Contributor : Marion Vorms <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, March 3, 2015 - 3:48:08 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - 3:47:39 AM

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Marion Vorms. The birth of classical genetics as the junction of two disciplines: conceptual change as representational change. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A, Elsevier, 2014, 48, pp.105-116. ⟨10.1016/j.shpsa.2014.05.007⟩. ⟨halshs-01122308⟩

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