The referential convergence of gene concepts based on classical and molecular analyses

Thumbnail Image
If you need an accessible version of this item, please email your request to so that they may create one and provide it to you.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Kenneth Waters and Marcel Weber argue that the joint use of distinct gene concepts and the transfer of knowledge between classical and molecular analyses in contemporary scientific practice is possible because classical and molecular concepts of the gene refer to overlapping chromosomal segments and the DNA sequences associated with these segments. However, while pointing in the direction of coreference, both authors also agree that there is a considerable divergence between the actual sequences that count as genes in classical genetics and molecular biology. The thesis advanced in this paper is that the referents of classical and molecular gene concepts are coextensive to a higher degree than admitted by Waters and Weber, and therefore coreference can provide a satisfactory account of the high level of integration between classical genetics and molecular biology. In particular, I argue that the functional units/cistrons identified by classical techniques overlap with functional elements entering the composition of molecular transcription units, and that the precision of this overlap can be improved by conducting further experimentation.
modern, epistemology, scientific language, biology, genetics, history of biology, knowledge transfer, discipline integration
Link(s) to data and video for this item
Downstream publication: Baetu, Tudor. (2010) "The Referential Convergence of Gene Concepts Based on Classical and Molecular Analyses." International Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 24(4), 411-427.