Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2015

Publication Title

Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences

Abstract

In the 1960s, \"developmental biology\" became the dominant term to describe some of the research that had previously been included under the rubrics of embryology, growth, morphology, and physiology. As scientific societies formed under this new label, a new discipline took shape. Historians, however, have a number of different perspectives on what changes led to this new field of developmental biology and how the field itself was constituted during this period. Using the General Embryological Information Service, a global index of post-World War II development-related research, we have documented and visualized significant changes in the kinds of research that occurred as this new field formed. In particular, our analysis supports the claim that the transition toward developmental biology was marked by a growth in new topics and forms of research. Although many historians privilege the role of molecular biology and/or the molecularization of biology in general during this formative period, we have found that the influence of molecular biology is not sufficient to account for the wide range of new research that constituted developmental biology at the time. Overall, our work creates a robust characterization of the changes that occurred with regard to research on growth and development in the decades following World War II and provides a context for future work on the specific drivers of those changes.\r\n\r\nKeywords: Developmental biology, Developmental genetics, Discipline formation, Embryology, Nuclear transplantation, Research diversification.

DOI

10.1016/j.shpsc.2015.04.004

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