Biological Discipline (biological + discipline)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Connective Ethnography for the Exploration of e-Science

Christine Hine
E-science comprises diverse sites, connected in complex and heterogeneous ways. While ethnography is well established as a way of exploring the detail of the knowledge production process, some strategic adaptations are prompted by this spatial complexity of e-science. This article describes a study that focused on the biological discipline of systematics, exploring the ways in which use of a variety of information and communication technologies has become a routine part of disciplinary practice. The ethnography combined observation and interviews within systematics institutions with mailing list participation, exploration of web landscapes, and analysis of expectations around information and communications technologies as portrayed in policy documents. Exploring connections among these different activities offers a means of understanding multiple dimensions of e-science as a focus of practice and policy. It is important when studying e-science to engage critically with claims about the transformative capacity of new technologies and to adopt methodologies that remain agnostic in the face of such claims: A connective approach to ethnography offers considerable promise in this regard. [source]

From plant,microbe interactions to symbiogenetics: a universal paradigm for the interspecies genetic integration

I.A. Tikhonovich
Abstract Beneficial plant,microbe symbioses are based on the integration of genetic material from diverse organisms resulting in formation of superorganism genetic systems. Analysis of their functions and evolution requires the establishment of a new biological discipline, proposed to be called symbiogenetics, which provides a basis for fundamental and applied research of the genetic control over different (symbiotic and biocenotic) biotic interactions. In ecology and agrobiology, the approaches of symbiogenetics are indispensable for optimising the interactions between the plants and the beneficial microbes to be used in ecosystem management and in sustainable crop production in which hazardous fertilisers and pesticides should be replaced by environmentally friendly microbial inoculants. [source]

Molecular evidence-based medicine

Evolution, integration of information in the genomic era
Abstract Evidence-based medicine and molecular medicine have both been influential in biomedical research in the last 15 years. Despite following largely parallel routes to date, the goals and principles of evidence-based and molecular medicine are complementary and they should be converging. I define molecular evidence-based medicine as the study of medical information that makes sense of the advances of molecular biological disciplines and where errors and biases are properly appreciated and placed in context. Biomedical measurement capacity improves very rapidly. The exponentially growing mass of hypotheses being tested requires a new approach to both statistical and biological inference. Multidimensional biology requires careful exact replication of research findings, but indirect corroboration is often all that is achieved at best. Besides random error, bias remains a major threat. It is often difficult to separate bias from the spirit of scientific inquiry to force data into coherent and ,significant' biological stories. Transparency and public availability of protocols, data, analyses and results may be crucial to make sense of the complex biology of human disease and avoid being flooded by spurious research findings. Research efforts should be integrated across teams in an open, sharing environment. Most research in the future may be designed, performed, and integrated in the public cyberspace. [source]

Potential genetic variance and the domestication of maize

BIOESSAYS, Issue 8 2002
Tanya M. Gottlieb
Since Darwin, there has been a long and arduous struggle to understand the source and maintenance of natural genetic variation and its relationship to phenotype. The reason that this task is so difficult is that it requires integration of detailed, and as yet incomplete, knowledge from several biological disciplines, including evolutionary, population, and developmental genetics. In this ,post-genomic' era, it is relatively easy to identify differences in the DNA sequence between individuals. However, the task remains to delineate how this abundant genetic diversity actually contributes to phenotypic diversity. This necessitates tackling the problem of hidden genetic variation. Genetic polymorphisms can be conditionally cryptic, but have the potential to contribute to phenotypic variation in particular genetic backgrounds or under specific environmental conditions. A recent paper by Lauter and Doebley highlights the contribution of hidden genetic variation to traits characterizing the morphological evolution of modern maize from its wild grass-like progenitor teosinte.1 This work is the first to demonstrate hidden variance for selected (agronomically ,adaptive') traits in a well-characterized model for morphological evolution. BioEssays 24:685,689, 2002. 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. [source]