Metaphors and the role of genes in development.

Journal Article

In describing the flawless regularity of developmental processes and the correlation between changes at certain genetic loci and changes in morphology, biologists frequently employ two metaphors: that genes 'control' development, and that genomes embody 'programs' for development. Although these metaphors have an admirable sharpness and punch, they lead, when taken literally, to highly distorted pictures of developmental processes. A more balanced, and useful, view of the role of genes in development is that they act as suppliers of the material needs of development and, in some instances, as context-dependent catalysts of cellular changes, rather than as 'controllers' of developmental progress and direction. The consequences of adopting this alternative view of development are discussed.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Nijhout, HF

Published Date

  • September 1990

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 12 / 9

Start / End Page

  • 441 - 446

PubMed ID

  • 1979486

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0265-9247

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/bies.950120908

Language

  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States