From Cells to Organisms: Re-envisioning Cell Theory
Published: August 2020© 2020
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 296 Pages
Illustrations: 13 b&w illustrations, 4 b&w tables
Dimensions: 6.10 x 9.10
296 Pages, 6.10 x 9.10 x 0.90 in, 13 b&w illustrations, 4 b&w tables
More than a history, From Cells to Organisms delves into the nature of scientific practice, showing that results are interpreted not only through the lens of a microscope, but also through the lens of particular ideas and prior philosophical convictions.
Before the twentieth century, heredity and development were considered complementary aspects of the fundamental problem of generation, but later they became distinct disciplines with the rise of genetics. Focusing on how cell theory shaped investigations of development, this book explores evolution, vitalism, the role of the nucleus, and the concept of biological individuality. Building upon the work of Thomas Huxley, an important early critic of cell theory, and more recent research from biologists such as Daniel Mazia, From Cells to Organisms covers ongoing debates around cell theory and uses case studies to examine the nature of scientific practice, the role of prestige, and the dynamics of theory change.
1. Microscopes and the Discovery of the Cell
2. The Physical Basis of Life
3. The Cell as the Unit of Heredity and Development
4. The Cell Theory in Development
5. Progress in Understanding Heredity
6. Organisms, Ebryonic Induction, and Morphogenetic Fields
8. How Does a Chicken become an Egg: Evo Devo and Ecodevo
Milestones and Controversies in the History of Cell Theory
"Reading Lyons’s superb book on the history of cells and their relation to organisms provides a much more complex story that shows how mid-19th-century outlooks became modified and raised new questions about the meaning of the terms cell and organism, between reductionist and holistic or organicist approaches to study the cell in its relation to heredity and development."Elof Axel Carlson, The Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 96, No. 2
"In addition to offering an intriguing challenge to cell theory, this book also provides an enjoyable history of multiple scientific disciplines. By considering theories that are well accepted and theories that have been rejected, Lyons reminds the reader that data are subject to human interpretation, and that we must therefore never stop being curious and questioning of even the most ingrained ideas."C. Kale, Choice
"This important book examines how our past understanding and appreciation of cells reflected current but often outdated or incomplete ideas. It is timely, scholarly, and thorough; fills gaps in our past knowledge; and provides an integrated approach to analysis of cell theory."Brian K. Hall, Dalhousie University
"This is a book that takes cell theory seriously – not as finished doctrine, but as an ongoing and sometimes contentious research program. Creative thinkers such as Oscar Hertwig, Thomas Huxley, Robert Remak, and Daniel Mazia take center stage in this book, showing the reciprocity of cell theories with all areas of biology."Scott Gilbert, Swarthmore College
"Cell theory, as Sherrie L. Lyons points out, joins evolution as one of biology’s two ‘unifying theories,’ and yet evolution has received the lion’s share of historical attention. In From Cells to Organisms, Lyons fills this gap. Her fresh, insightful, succinct, and accessible reinterpretation of the history of cytology is essential reading for students and general readers who seek to understand the ideas underpinning not only cell biology but ultimately life itself."Marsha L. Richmond, Wayne State University
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