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  1. Werner Ceusters (2009). What Do Identifiers in HL7 Identify? An Essay in the Ontology of Identity. In Mitsu Okada (ed.), Proceedings of InterOntology (Tokyo, Japan, February 27-March 1, 2009). Keio University
    Health Level 7 (HL7) is an organization seeking to provide universal standards for the exchange of healthcare information. In a document entitled ‘HL7 Version 3 Standard: Data Types’, the HL7 organization advances descriptions of data types recommended for use as identifiers. We will argue that the descriptions supplied provide insufficient guidance as to what exactly the entities are which these data types uniquely identify. Are they real things, such as persons or pieces of equipment? Or are they representations of such (...)
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  2. Antoine Danchin & Agnieszka Sekowska (2008). FRUSTRATION: PHYSICO-CHEMICAL PREREQUISITES FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF A SYNTHETIC CELL. In Martin G. Hicks and Carsten Kettner (ed.), Proceedings of the International Beilstein Symposium on Systems Chemistry May 26th – 30th, 2008 Bozen, Italy. Beilstein Institute 1-19.
    To construct a synthetic cell we need to understand the rules that permit life. A central idea in modern biology is that in addition to the four entities making reality, matter, energy, space and time, a fifth one, information, plays a central role. As a consequence of this central importance of the management of information, the bacterial cell is organised as a Turing machine, where the machine, with its compartments defining an inside and an outside and its metabolism, reads and (...)
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  3. Sinead English, Ido Pen, Nicholas Shea & Tobias Uller (2015). The Information Value of Non-Genetic Inheritance in Plants and Animals. PLoS ONE 10 (1):e0116996.
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  4. Alfred Gierer (1963). Function of Aggregated Reticulocyte Ribosomes in Protein Synthesis. J. Mol. Biol 6:148-157.
    Applying mild methods of preparation, part of the ribosomes of rabbit reticulocytes are found in aggregates (later called polyribosomes) of up to six ribosomal units. Upon treatment with RNA-ase, they desintegrate into single ribosomes. The fast-sedimenting aggregates are found to be more active in protein synthesis in terms of incorporation of radioactive amino acids, whereas the single ribosomes are more receptive to stimulation by the artificial messenger RNA poly-U. The findings indicate that the linkage of ribosomes into aggregates is due (...)
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  5. Alfred Gierer (1957). Structure and Biological Function of Ribonucleic Acid From Tobacco Mosaic Virus. Nature 179:1297-1299.
    Within the sedimentation diagram of infective RNA preparations isolated from Tobacco Mosaic Virus, undegraded molecules form a sharp peak with a molecular weight corresponding to the total RNA content of the virus particle. Degradation kinetics by ribonuclease is of the linear, single-target type, indicating that the RNA is single-stranded. The intact RNA of a virus particle thus forms one big single-stranded molecule. Quantitative evaluation of the effect degradation by RNA-ase on the infectivity of the RNA shows that the integrity of (...)
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  6. Alfred Gierer & K. W. Mundry (1958). Production of Mutants of Tobacco Mosaic Virus by Chemical Alteration of its Nucleic Acid in Vitro. Nature 182:1457-1458.
    The generation of viral mutants in vitro was demonstrated by treatment of the isolated RNA of Tobacco Mosaic Virus by nitrous acid. This agent causes deaminations converting cytosine into uracil, and adenine into hypoxanthine. Our assay for mutagenesis was the production of local lesions on a tobacco variety on which the untreated strain produces systemic infections only. A variety of different mutants are generated in this way. Quantitative analysis of the kinetics of mutagenesis leads to the conclusion that alteration of (...)
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  7. Alfred Gierer & Gerhard Schramm (1956). Infectivity of Ribonucleic Acid From Tobacco Mosaic Virus. Nature 177:702-703.
    Upon separation of the protein from the nucleic acid component of tobacco mosaic virus by phenol, using a fast and gentle procedure, the nucleic acid is infective in assays on tobacco leaves. A series of qualitative and quantitative control experiments demonstrates that the biological activity cannot depend on residual proteins in the preparation, but is a property of isolated nucleic acid which is thus the genetic material of the virus.
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  8. Eva Jablonka & Snait Gissis (eds.) (forthcoming). Transformations of Lamarckism: From Subtle Fluids to Molecular Biology. MIT Press.
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  9. Ehud Lamm (2011). The Metastable Genome: A Lamarckian Organ in a Darwinian World? In Eva Jablonka & Snait Gissis (eds.), Transformations of Lamarckism: from subtle fluids to molecular biology. MIT Press
    This article is arranged around two general claims and a thought experiment. I begin by suggesting that the genome should be studied as a developmental system, and that genes supervene on genomes (rather than the other way around). I move on to present a thought experiment that illustrates the implications a dynamic view of the genome has for central concepts in biology, in particular the information content of the genome, and the notion of responses to stress.
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  10. James Maclaurin (2002). The Resurrection of Innateness. In The Monist. 105-130.
    The notion of innateness is widely used, particularly in philosophy of mind, cognitive science and linguistics. Despite this popularity, it remains a controversial idea. This is partly because of the variety of ways in which it can be explicated and partly because it appears to embody the suggestion that we can determine the relative causal contributions of genes and environment in the development of biological individuals. As these causes are not independent, the claim is metaphysically suspect. This paper argues that (...)
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  11. R. J. Planer (forthcoming). Are Genetic Representations Read in Development? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axu043.
    The status of genes as bearers of semantic content remains very much in dispute among philosophers of biology. In a series of papers, Nicholas Shea has argued that his ‘infotel’ theory of semantics vindicates the claim that genes carry semantic content. On Shea’s account, each organism is associated with a ‘developmental system’ that takes genetic representations as inputs and produces whole-organism traits as outputs. Moreover, at least in his most recent work on the topic, Shea is explicit in claiming that (...)
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  12. Ronald J. Planer (forthcoming). Gene-Concept Pluralism, Causal Specificity, and Information. [REVIEW] Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C.
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  13. Nicholas Shea (2012). Genetic Representation Explains the Cluster of Innateness-Related Properties. Mind and Language 27 (4):466-493.
    The concept of innateness is used to make inferences between various better-understood properties, like developmental canalization, evolutionary adaptation, heritability, species-typicality, and so on (‘innateness-related properties’). This article uses a recently-developed account of the representational content carried by inheritance systems like the genome to explain why innateness-related properties cluster together, especially in non-human organisms. Although inferences between innateness-related properties are deductively invalid, and lead to false conclusions in many actual cases, where some aspect of a phenotypic trait develops in reliance on (...)
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  14. Nicholas Shea (2012). Inherited Representations Are Read in Development. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (1):1-31.
    Recent theoretical work has identified a tightly-constrained sense in which genes carry representational content. Representational properties of the genome are founded in the transmission of DNA over phylogenetic time and its role in natural selection. However, genetic representation is not just relevant to questions of selection and evolution. This paper goes beyond existing treatments and argues for the heterodox view that information generated by a process of selection over phylogenetic time can be read in ontogenetic time, in the course of (...)
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  15. Marcel Weber (2005). Genes, Causation and Intentionality. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 27 (3/4):399-411.
    I want to exhibit the deeper metaphysical reasons why some common ways of describing the causal role of genes in development and evolution are problematic. Specifically, I show why using the concept of information in an intentional sense in genetics is inappropriate, even given a naturalistic account of intentionality. Furthermore, I argue that descriptions that use notions such as programming, directing or orchestrating are problematic not for empirical reasons, but because they are not strictly causal. They are intentional. By contrast, (...)
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