From molecules to systems: the importance of looking both ways

Abstract
Although molecular biology has meant different things at different times, the term is often associated with a tendency to view cellular causation as conforming to simple linear schemas in which macro-scale effects are specified by micro-scale structures. The early achievements of molecular biologists were important for the formation of such an outlook, one to which the discovery of recombinant DNA techniques, and a number of other findings, gave new life even after the complexity of genotype–phenotype
relations had become apparent. Against this background we outline how a range of scientific developments and conceptual considerations can be regarded as enabling and perhaps necessitating contemporary systems approaches. We suggest that philosophical ideas have a valuable part to play in making sense of complex scientific and disciplinary issues.
Keywords molecular biology  systems biology  reductionism  emergence  mechanism  networks
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    References found in this work BETA
    Mark A. Bedau (1997). Weak Emergence. Philosophical Perspectives 11 (s11):375-399.
    John Dupre (2002). The Lure of the Simplistic. Philosophy of Science 69 (S3):S284-S293.

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    Citations of this work BETA
    Andrew Reynolds (2010). The Redoubtable Cell. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 41 (3):194-201.
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