Mazur: The End of the Gene as We Know it

RICHARDSON/NAUTILUS:

http://nautil.us/issue/68/context/its-the-end-of-the-gene-as-we-know-it
“It is such discoveries that are turning our ideas of genetic causation inside out. We have traditionally thought of cell contents as servants to the DNA instructions. But, as the British biologist Denis Noble insists, “The modern synthesis has got causality in biology wrong … DNA on its own does absolutely nothing until activated by the rest of the system … DNA is not a cause in an active sense. I think it is better described as a passive data base which is used by the organism to enable it to make the proteins that it requires.”

MAZUR INTERVIEW WITH DENIS NOBLE (1st in HuffPost, then in The Origins of Life Circus, and again in The Paradigm Shifters):

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/suzan-mazur/replace-the-modern-sythes_b_5284211.html

“The second reason is a much more conceptual issue. I think that as a gene-centric view of evolution, the modern synthesis has got causality in biology wrong. Genes, after all, if they’re defined as DNA sequences, are purely passive. DNA on its own does absolutely nothing until activated by the rest of the system through transcription factors, markers of one kind or another, interactions with the proteins. So on its own, DNA is not a cause in an active sense. I think it is better described as a passive data base which is used by the organism to enable it to make the proteins that it requires. ”

The Rise and Fall of Gene-as-God

e’ve all seen the stark headlines: “Being Rich and Successful Is in Your DNA” (Guardian, July 12); “A New Genetic Test Could Help Determine Children’s Success” (Newsweek, July 10); “Our Fortunetelling Genes” make us (Wall Street Journal, Nov. 16); and so on.The problem is, many of these headlines are not discussing real genes at all, but a crude statistical model of them, involving dozens of unlikely assumptions. Now, slowly but surely, that whole conceptual model of the gene is being challenged.We have reached peak gene, and passed it.

Source: The Rise and Fall of Gene-as-God