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::: center home >> events >> lunchtime >> 2004-05 >> abstracts

Tuesday, 29 March 2005

With Genes Like That Who Needs An Environment? 
Genomics' Argument Against Genetic Determinism

Karola Stotz, University of Pittsburgh, HPS)

12:05 pm, 817R Cathedral of Learning


Abstract: New discoveries of detailed mechanisms underlying genome expression (overlapping genes and gene sharing, antisense transcription, trans-splicing, RNA editing, to name just a few), genome regulation (via transcription factors, digital RNA regulatory network, epigenetic system), and (post) translational processes (e.g. ribosomal slippage) show two things: how surprisingly complex life processes are at the genomic level, and how little causal power is being asserted by a single, autonomous gene, if defined as a stretch of DNA. Genetic information is developmentally constituted. The main argument against genetic determinism has always been that the actual activity of the gene and hence its contribution to the phenotype depends on environmental elements outside the transcription unit. The genomic processes referred to in this talk prove the ultimate truth of that saying, and show that often you won't need to look outside the traditional ‘gene’ to find the ‘environment’.’s logical syntax program and the later viewpoint of Quine’s own “Truth by Convention.”

Revised 3/11/08 - Copyright 2006