A Question of Genes

Understanding Life in Context

Craig Holdrege

Availability:
Out of print

Quick Look

Argues that genes alone cannot determine traits, much less organisms, because their effects are always qualified by the contexts within which the organisms live.

Format:
paperback
Size:
240 x 160 mm
Publisher:
Floris Books
Subject:
Philosophy of Human Life
Extent:
176 pages
ISBN:
9780863152399
Publication date:
24 Oct 1996

Description

In this readable book, Holdrege provides a lovely exposition of living organisms not as objects, but as process and of heredity as a blending of 'potential and plasticity' with 'imitation and specificity'. With a wealth of interesting examples he shows how genes (DNA) alone cannot 'determine' traits, much less organisms, because their effects are always qualified by the contexts within which the organisms live. He thus offers an antidote to the current mechanistic thinking about genes as causes of health, disease and behaviour.

But the special contribution of this book is that it details, simply and again with fascinating examples, how scientists' ways of conceptualizing organisms and manipulating them and their parts are the heart of the formulations they offer about how organisms and their molecules function. The reader can thus observe how scientific observation and their interpretations fuse in the creation of systems of scientific explanation.

Reviews

'This book is for all of us who want to understand the biological revolution of the late twentieth century … this knowledgeable explanation is the single most accessible source of information on the implications for Homo sapiens of the new esoterica of the new genetics and cell biology.
-- Lynn Margulis

'This may be the most essential new book of our time.'
-- Wes Jackson, The Land Institute

Author

Craig Holdrege has taught science for many years in Germany and the USA.

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