Authors
Gry Oftedal
University of Oslo
Abstract
Synthetic biology research is often described in terms of programming cells through the introduction of synthetic genes. Genetic material is seemingly attributed with a high level of causal responsibility. We discuss genetic causation in synthetic biology and distinguish three gene concepts differing in their assumptions of genetic control. We argue that synthetic biology generally employs a difference-making approach to establishing genetic causes, and that this approach does not commit to a specific notion of genetic program or genetic control. Still, we suggest that a strong program concept of genetic material can be used as a successful heuristic in certain areas of synthetic biology. Its application requires control of causal context, and may stand in need of a modular decomposition of the target system. We relate different modularity concepts to the discussion of genetic causation and point to possible advantages of and important limitations to seeking modularity in synthetic biology systems
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsc.2013.03.016
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References found in this work BETA

Thinking About Mechanisms.Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
Causation.David Lewis - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (17):556-567.
Explanation: A Mechanist Alternative.William Bechtel - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biol and Biomed Sci 36 (2):421--441.
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Citations of this work BETA

Restricted Causal Relevance.Anders Strand & Gry Oftedal - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (2):431-457.

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