See also my blog:
|Philosophy of Genomics
This project critically examines the
ways that functions are assigned to
genetic elements. I am particularly
interested in non-coding or "Junk" DNA
and the claim that it has some
function that benefits the organism. A
related interest concerns transposable
elements and the suggestion that their
abundance and distribution are best
understood by viewing the genome as a
Linquist, S. Cottenie, K.
Elliott, T.A. Saylor, B. Kremer,
S.C. and Gregory, T.R. (2015) Applying ecological models
to communities of
genetic elements: the case of
neutral theory. Molecular
T.A., S. Linquist and T.R.
Gregory (2014). Conceptual
and empirical challenges of
ascribing functions to
The American Naturalist,
184 (1), 14-24.
Doolittle, W. F., T.
Brunet, S. Linquist, & T.R.
Gregory (2014). Distinguishing
between function and effect in
Genome Biology and Evolution, 6,
S., B. Saylor, K. Cottenie,
T.A.. Elliott, S.C. Kremer & T.R.
Gregory (2013). Distinguishing
ecological from evolutionary
approaches to transposable elements.
Saylor, B. T.A. Elliott, S. Linquist.
S.C. Kremer, T.R.. Gregory & K
Cottenie (2013). A
novel application of ecological
analyses to transposable element
distributions in the Bos
taurus genome. Genome,
"Four decades debating junk
DNA and the Phenotype Paradigm is
(somehow) alive and well." Evolutionary
Roles of Transposable Elements:
the Science and the Philosophy.
Dalhousie University. October 20,
junk DNA provide habitat
for transposable elements?
A simulation model for
genome-level ecology." At
the Philosophy of Biology
week in Halifax. July,
"The genome as ecosystem:
Clarifying a novel approach to
jumping genes." Philosophy of
Biology at the Mountains (POBAM),
Salt Lake, Utah. May 18, 2018.
Transposons accumulate through
genome-level ecosystem engineering.
We are currently developing a
simulation model to determine
whether TEs can accumulate in large
numbers while remaining deleterious
to their host. Our findings suggest
that this is possible, provided they
engage in genome-level ecosystem
Evolution of the concept of Junk
I am working with Ryan Gregory on a
paper about the evolution of the
concept of junk DNA. We argue that
changes in meaning reflect its use
as a framing device and for purposes
of research promotion. Such
adaptations are contrary to its use
as an explanatory concept, but
arguably no less important.
Genomics, philosophy and the F-word.
Working with participants in the
2018 Workshop on the Science
and Philosophy of Mobile DNA, this
paper reviews some of the
theoretical and empirical issues
surrounding the ascription of
functions to transposable elements.