Genetic Determinism

What role do genes play in how organisms develop? To answer this question we must distinguish the genotype from the phenotype. Genetic determinism means that the genotype completely determines the phenotype, that is, the genes completely determine how an organism turns out. Basically genetic determinism places the gene at the center of all explanations of traits and variation of life. All traits, according to this view are determined overwhelmingly by the genome. Reinforcing this theory, Nobel Prize winning microbiologist James Watson said one’s DNA “determines whether you have the life of a fly or a carrot or a man.” We often hear there is a gene for intelligence and for homosexuality, ...

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Dr. Richard C. Strohman, a molecular and cell biologist professor agrees with this view.
Dr. Strohman’s view on genetic determinism, the major component of biological reductionism, is that it’s unable to contend with newer findings of biological complexity and that a new and more holistic scientific theory of living systems is needed. Increasingly “weird” genes, epigenes, randomness in phenotype are presenting serious challenges to the genetic determinism paradigm. Can Dr. Strohman and other scientists show that the Central Dogma and Law of Independent Assortment is wrong, or will genetic determinism be vindicated? For Dr. Strohman, the trouble with the extended theory of the gene is that genetic elements, while important, are only one part of biological regulation. The genes alone cannot specify details of organism phenotype, including complex diseases like sporadic cancer and cardiovascular diseases. There are cases in which genes may cause attributes of an organism, but it’s ...

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Genetic Determinism. (2011, March 29). Retrieved December 13, 2018, from
"Genetic Determinism.", 29 Mar. 2011. Web. 13 Dec. 2018. <>
"Genetic Determinism." March 29, 2011. Accessed December 13, 2018.
"Genetic Determinism." March 29, 2011. Accessed December 13, 2018.
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Added: 3/29/2011 11:23:12 PM
Submitted By: Samantuhh
Category: Biology
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1116
Pages: 5

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