Beyond the Gene: Cytoplasmic Inheritance and the Struggle for Authority in Genetics

Hardcover | June 1, 1995

byJan Sapp

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The scope and significance of cytoplasmic inheritance has been the subject of one of the longest controversies in the history of genetics. In the first major book on the history of this subject, Jan Sapp analyses the persistent attempts of investigators of non-Mendelian inheritance toestablish their claims in the face of strong resistance from nucleo-centric geneticists and classical neo-Darwinians. A new perspective on the history of genetics is offered as he explores the conflicts which have shaped theoretical thinking about heredity and evolution throughout the century:materialism vs. vitalism, reductionism vs. holism, preformation vs. epigenesis, neo-Darwinism vs. new-Lamarckism, and gradualism vs. saltationism. In so doing, Sapp highlights competitive struggles for power among individuals and disciplinary groups. He accepts that political interests and generalsocial contexts may directly affect scientific ideas, but develops the stronger thesis that social interests inside science itself are always involved in the content of scientific knowledge. He goes on to show that there are no neutral judges in scientific controversies and investigates the socialstrategies and methodological rhetoric used by scientists when they defend or oppose a particular theory. At the same time, Sapp illustrates the social constraints that ensure the high cost and risk of entertaining unorthodox theories in the sciences.

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From Our Editors

This book is based on my doctoral dissertation carried out under the supervision of Camille Limoges and submitted to the University of Montreal in 1984.

From the Publisher

The scope and significance of cytoplasmic inheritance has been the subject of one of the longest controversies in the history of genetics. In the first major book on the history of this subject, Jan Sapp analyses the persistent attempts of investigators of non-Mendelian inheritance toestablish their claims in the face of strong resist...

From the Jacket

This book is based on my doctoral dissertation carried out under the supervision of Camille Limoges and submitted to the University of Montreal in 1984.

Jan Sapp is a Senior Lecturer in History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Melbourne.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:282 pages, 9.65 × 6.3 × 0.87 inPublished:June 1, 1995Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195042069

ISBN - 13:9780195042061

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Table of Contents

1. Defining the Organism2. Constructing Heredity3. Challenging the Nuclear Monopoly of the Cell in Germany4. T.M. Sonneborn: Making Plasmagenes in America5. Boris Ephrussi and the Birth of Genetics in France6. The Cold War in Genetics7. Problems with "Master Molecules"8. Patterns of Power

From Our Editors

This book is based on my doctoral dissertation carried out under the supervision of Camille Limoges and submitted to the University of Montreal in 1984.

Editorial Reviews

"In this finely researched study, Sapp has rescued many fascinating scientists and their struggles with ideas, institutions, and competitors from the oblivion into which narrowly focused histories of Mendelian genetics have cast them." --American Historical Review