By Susan Oyama
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Extra info for Evolution's Eye: A Systems View of the Biology-Culture Divide
But the phenocopying bacterium’s yellowness could also be genetic in this sense, as could its whiteness. The diﬀerence between the two colors, furthermore, is environmentally determined in the source-of-variance sense because only a switch of medium is required to produce it. ’’ It seems that the traditional claim that phenocopies are environmentally produced imitations of genetic traits is based on assumptions of uncertain precision and validity. Looking at Development and Evolution What Is Fundamental about Phenocopying?
Genotypes and Phenotypes A peculiar ritual is observed virtually every time genes are mentioned in the psychological literature. It consists of pronouncing the nature-nurture issue dead, ‘‘except in the minds of a few unsophisticated individuals’’ (Alland :–). Alexander Alland, an anthropologist, invokes the principle of interaction between genes and environment, and then proceeds to treat the two as alternative sources of form and function rather than as joint determiners, either of which can be a source of variation.
In spite of the prodigious knowledge Brenner and his colleagues have acquired about the ontogeny of this creature, however, or perhaps because of it, he now disavows the notion of a program, even warning against loose metaphorical use of the term. My own inclination is to applaud this repudiation of his original aim. ’’ Cell lineages are unpredictable and complex; by the time one has given a ‘‘rule’’ for such a lineage, one has virtually described the sequence, step by step. There seems to be no logic.