Questions relating to how the field of biology has developed over time.

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16
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2answers
251 views

Why is there now only one Salmonella species?

Once upon a time, I chanced upon an old microbiology book that detailed the rather colorful world of enterobacteria. Salmonella in particular stood out, as it seemed there were a lot of species: typhi ...
15
votes
2answers
884 views

Impact of Alan Turing's approach to morphogenesis

Shortly before his untimely passing, the computing pioneer Alan Turing published his most cited paper The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis (1952). The central question for Turing was: how does a ...
13
votes
1answer
964 views

What did Richard Feynman contribute to molecular biology?

Some time ago, I read James Gleick's "Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman", a wonderful biography of Feynman and, by extension, most of modern physics. In this book, the author mentions ...
12
votes
10answers
978 views

A good book for history of biology/biotechnology for lay people

I have many friends who are interested in Biology and want to know more about the subject in general (like a history of biology, from Darwin's theory, to DNA structure discovery, to the human genome ...
11
votes
2answers
176 views

Why should a tumor look like a crab?

Origin of the word cancer The disease was first called cancer by Greek physician Hippocrates (460-370 BC). He is considered the “Father of Medicine.” Hippocrates used the terms carcinos and ...
10
votes
2answers
196 views

Did Darwin ever reach the conclusion that selection will remove variation?

According to simple models of selection the genetic variance in a population should be reduced by selection. (Fisher's fundamental theorem states that the rate at which a population can evolve is ...
9
votes
2answers
139 views

Acknowledging differentiation of species, in historical times

This is at least partly an historical question, and I am not even remotely a biologist of any sort, so apologies beforehand if it's a little obscure. I often wonder how many distinctions were made in ...
9
votes
1answer
539 views

Did the eugenics program in Nazi Germany have a measurable effect? [closed]

Did the killing or sterilisation of people considered as living a "life unworthy of life" in Nazi Germany have any measurable effect on the "average health" of Germany? Is there any statistical ...
6
votes
2answers
89 views

Which species were first described by Charles Darwin?

There are many plants and animals named for the naturalist Charles Darwin, such as Darwin's Frog (Rhinoderma darwinii), but which were named by him? I'm finding it difficult to find such a list.
6
votes
2answers
2k views

What did we learn with Nazi human experimentation?

Was there actually any useful knowledge gained from the Nazi experiments on human test subjects? Wikipedia cites freezing and phosphine gas reactions, but I would like to know other potential results ...
6
votes
1answer
120 views

On which date did the official name change of Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis change?

When did the change of official name from Lactobacillus sanfrancisco to Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis happen? An answer ((to the exact day OR within a few days) AND the name of the conference at ...
6
votes
1answer
289 views

First discovery of long-term depression?

LTP was first described by Tim Bliss and Terje Lømo in their paper Long-lasting potentiation of synaptic transmission in the dentate area of the anaesthetized rabbit following stimulation of the ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

How many species did Carl Linnaeus classify?

How many species did Carl Linnaeus (senior) classify?
4
votes
1answer
191 views

Why is E.coli used as a model?

Is there a reason for the choice of E.coli as a model for many bacterial systems? Other bacteria such as B.subtilis are also used, but why is E. coli preferred?
4
votes
1answer
80 views

How was the resemblance between apes and humans explained in pre-Darwinian biology?

Humans and apes have somewhat obvious similarities, these must have been apparent to natural philosophers before the possibility of a common ancestry was first proposed in the mid-1800's. These ...
4
votes
2answers
93 views

Is there a standard reference for the importance of tumor heterogeneity?

In a recent post, Philip Gerlee highlighted the two biggest contributions of mathematical oncology to cancer research: (1) increasing focus on the progress of cancer as an evolutionary process, and ...
4
votes
1answer
64 views

Who was the first to talk about evolvability?

"Evolvability is the capacity of a system for adaptive evolution." (source) There are several other definitions though: Who was the first person to use the word "evolvability"? Who was the first to ...
4
votes
1answer
149 views

Tool use by animals: research history

I was under impression that data about quite a lot different species using different tools is a fairly modern phenomenon, i.e., all of the research is fairly recent. Around 50 years ago it was ...
3
votes
2answers
334 views

19th century Latin species description

While reading a 19th century text of new species description, I'm confused by some Latin phrases. The case here is: Corp. long. 8 poll., caud. 9 poll. I guess 'corp.' and 'long.' are ...
3
votes
1answer
40 views

When was it determined that Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease?

I just found out today that type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. When was this discovered?
3
votes
2answers
400 views

How was the Huntington's disease gene's location found?

I read in the book "Why we get sick." by Nesse and Williams that: Steady detective work and fabulous luck have enabled geneticists to pinpoint the Huntington's gene on the short arm of ...
3
votes
1answer
187 views

When was the purpose of bone marrow discovered?

I'm currently reading William Cheselden's book Osteographia or The Anatomy of the Bones, which was published in 1733 (for the pretty pictures, naturally; not up to date anatomy). When he addresses the ...
3
votes
1answer
266 views

Why apes started to contemplate and become altruistic? [closed]

I was asking this first on philosophy forums, but it is suggested, that answer could be found from evolutionary view of point, so here we go: Again my question raised when thinking of myths, their ...
2
votes
1answer
71 views

How was Restriction Site of EcoRI sequenced?

The sequence of restriction site of EcoRI - GAATTC was identified in the early 1970s, before Sanger Sequencing was invented.(1977) How was the restriction site of EcoRI sequenced ?
2
votes
2answers
45 views

Recommendation of a comprehensive book on the history of medicine

I was wondering if somebody could recommend a book on the history of medicine, be it comprehensive or an introduction to the history of medicine. I know there are a lot of medical books that cover ...
2
votes
1answer
122 views

What is the full name of E. G. Gray?

E. G. Gray is Neuro scientist who found and described first the two major morphologically defined synapse types (Gray Type I (asymmetric) and II (symmetric)) in his work E G Gray (Oct. 1959). ...
1
vote
1answer
31 views

DNA Fingerprint

I recently came across an article indicating that the half life of DNA in the most ideal situations is 521 years (http://www.nature.com/news/dna-has-a-521-year-half-life-1.11555). However, since ...
1
vote
1answer
18 views

Cancer history on environment-cancer relationship

I am interested to know how environment-cancer relationship knowledge has developed. I know that all began when Muller first proved that mutation could be induced via ionizing radiation, X rays in the ...
1
vote
0answers
96 views

First documented beneficial mutation?

I've been reading up on beneficial mutations, and am curious when we discovered and documented the first one. Can anyone point me to the first documented beneficial mutation? Per request, let me ...
0
votes
2answers
110 views

Sewall Wright for dunces

[This is one more post in my growing "X for dummies/idiots/morons/etc." series.] I've been enjoying Provine's The origins of theoretical population genetics for the last couple of days, but I must ...