How biologists conceptualize genes: An empirical study

Karola Stotz*, Paul E. Griffiths, Rob Knight

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Citations (Scopus)


Philosophers and historians of biology have argued that genes are conceptualized differently in different fields of biology and that these differences influence both the conduct of research and the interpretation of research by audiences outside the field in which the research was conducted. In this paper we report the results of a questionnaire study of how genes are conceptualized by biological scientists at the University of Sydney, Australia. The results provide tentative support for some hypotheses about conceptual differences between different fields of biological research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)647-673
Number of pages27
JournalStudies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Conceptual change
  • Epistemic object
  • Gene concept
  • Gene-D
  • Gene-for
  • Gene-P


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