The Transformation of Molecular Biology on Contact with Higher Organisms, 1960-1980: from a Molecular Description to a Molecular Explanation [Book Review]

Abstract
The convergence of developmental biology — embryology — and molecular biology was one of the major scientific events of the last decades of the twentieth century. The transformation of developmental biology by the concepts and methods of molecular biology has already been described. Less has been told on the reciprocal transformation of molecular biology on contact with higher organisms. The transformation of molecular biology occurred at the end of a deep crisis which affected this discipline in the sixties and seventies and which led to a cruel criticism of the preexisting models of gene regulation. Numerous new, sometimes heterodox, models were proposed to describe the level at which gene regulation took place and its underlying mechanisms. The crisis resolved itself at the beginning of the eighties with the rapid accumulation of results from genetic engineering techniques and, above all, a displacement of the descriptive level from the molecule to the cell. This displacement gave molecular biologists the 'explanandum' which had been cruelly lacking during their initial study of higher organisms. The new molecular cell biology is an interfield explanation of living phenomena, relating a description and an interpretation localized at different levels of organization
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Stages in the Development of a Model Organism as a Platform for Mechanistic Models in Developmental Biology: Zebrafish, 1970–2000.Robert Meunier - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (2):522-531.

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