Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Conrad Hal Waddington (1905-1975) : el naixement de l'epigenètica

José Luis Paternain Suberviola, Maria Cabré Bargalló, Miguel Ángel Montero i Simó, Antoni Romeu Figuerola


Waddington was an active investigator as an embryologist and genetist
from the 1930s to 1950s. Over this period he did a brilliant work in theoretical biology
developing concepts such as «genetic assimilation» and «epigenetic landscape
».Waddington?s epigenetic landscape is a metaphor for how gene regulation
modulates development. This idea was actually based on experiment: Waddington
found that one effect of mutation was to affect how cells differentiated. In the
studies of development,Waddington speculated on the meaning of the «epigenetic
landscape» as reflected in his works Organisers and Genes (1940) and The
strategy of the Genes (1957). Waddington describes epigenetics as the causal
analysis of development, in other words, all those mechanisms (genetics and environmental)
necessary to activate the genetic program of development.

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