Genes versus Genomes: The Role of Genome Organization in Evolution

Dissertation, Tel Aviv University (2010)
Recent and not so recent advances in our molecular understanding of the genome make the once prevalent view of the genome as a passive container of genetic information (i.e., genes) untenable, and emphasize the importance of the internal organization and re-organization dynamics of the genome for both development and evolution. While this conclusion is by now well accepted, the construction of a comprehensive conceptual framework for studying the genome as a dynamic system, capable of self-organization and adaptive behavior is still underway. This work deals with the effect of such a conceptual shift on evolutionary thought. Specifically, I try to articulate the conceptual commitments and obligations of views that privilege explanatorily or causally the genome, its dynamics and mechanisms, over genes. I refer to this class of views as belonging to ‘the genome perspective’.
Keywords genome
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