Exploratory Experimentation and Scientific Practice: Metagenomics and the Proteorhodopsin Case

Abstract
Exploratory experimentation and high-throughput molecular biology appear to have considerable affinity for each other. Included in the latter category is metagenomics, which is the DNA-based study of diverse microbial communities from a vast range of non-laboratory environments. Metagenomics has already made numerous discoveries and these have led to reinterpretations of fundamental concepts of microbial organization, evolution, and ecology. The most outstanding success story of metagenomics to date involves the discovery of a rhodopsin gene, named proteorhodopsin, in marine bacteria that were never suspected to have any photobiological capacities. A discussion of this finding and its detailed investigation illuminates the relationship between exploratory experimentation and metagenomics. Specifically, the proteorhodopsin story indicates that a dichotomous interpretation of theory-driven and exploratory experimentation is insufficient and that an interactive understanding of these two types of experimentation can be usefully supplemented by another category, "natural history experimentation". Further reflection on the context of metagenomics suggests the necessity of thinking more historically about exploratory and other forms of experimentation
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 10,948
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA
Rachel A. Ankeny & Sabina Leonelli (2011). What's so Special About Model Organisms? Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (2):313-323.
Sara Green (2013). When One Model is Not Enough: Combining Epistemic Tools in Systems Biology. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (2):170-180.
Chris Haufe (2013). Why Do Funding Agencies Favor Hypothesis Testing? Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):363-374.
Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

11 ( #136,195 of 1,100,791 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #289,565 of 1,100,791 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.