Bacteriophage biology and Kenneth Schaffner's rendition of developmentalism

Biology and Philosophy 16 (1):85-92 (2001)
In this paper I consider Kenneth Schaffner''s(1998) rendition of ''''developmentalism'''' from the point of viewof bacteriophage biology. I argue that the fact that a viablephage can be produced from purified DNA and host cellularcomponents lends some support to the anti-developmentalist, ifthey first show that one can draw a principled distinctionbetween genetic and environmental effects. The existence ofhost-controlled phage host range restriction supports thedevelopmentalist''s insistence on the parity of DNA andenvironment. However, in the case of bacteriophage, thedevelopmentalist stands on less firm ground than when organismswith nervous systems, such as Schaffner''s C. elegans, areconsidered.
Keywords bacteriophage  developmentalism  developmental systems theory  genetic information  Kenneth Schaffner  philosophy of molecular biology
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DOI 10.1023/A:1006742931958
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