PhilSci Archive

Rethinking Causation in Cancer with Evolutionary Developmental Biology

Liu, Katherine E (2017) Rethinking Causation in Cancer with Evolutionary Developmental Biology. Biological Theory.

This is the latest version of this item.

[img]
Preview
Text
Liu2018_Article_RethinkingCausationInCancerWit.pdf - Published Version

Download (955kB) | Preview
Official URL: https://rdcu.be/3DO8

Abstract

Despite the productivity of basic cancer research, cancer continues to be a health burden to society because this research has not yielded corresponding clinical applications. Many proposed solutions to this dilemma have revolved around implementing organizational and policy changes related to cancer research. Here I argue for a different solution: a new conceptualization of causation in cancer. Neither the standard molecular biomarker approaches nor evolutionary biology approaches to cancer fully capture its complex causal dynamics, even when considered jointly. These approaches map on to Ernst Mayr’s proximate-ultimate distinction, which is an inadequate conceptualization of causation in biological systems and makes it difficult to connect developmental and evolutionary viewpoints. I propose looking to evolutionary developmental biology (evo devo) to overcome the distinction and integrate the proximate and ultimate causal frameworks. I use the concepts of modularity and evolvability to show how an evo devo perspective can be manifested in cancer translational research. This perspective on causation in cancer is better suited for integrating the complexity of current empirical results and can facilitate novel developments in the investigation and clinical treatment of cancer.


Export/Citation: EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII/Text Citation (Chicago) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
Social Networking:
Share |

Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Liu, Katherine Eliuxx971@umn.edu0000-0001-8965-4163
Keywords: cancer, causation, evolutionary medicine, modularity, proximate-ultimate, biomarker, evolutionary developmental biology, evolvability
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
General Issues > Causation
Specific Sciences > Medicine
Depositing User: Katherine Liu
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2018 19:07
Last Modified: 30 Jul 2018 19:07
Item ID: 14909
Journal or Publication Title: Biological Theory
Publisher: Springer
Official URL: https://rdcu.be/3DO8
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13752-018-0303-0
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
General Issues > Causation
Specific Sciences > Medicine
Date: July 2017
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/14909

Available Versions of this Item

Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Monthly Downloads for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Altmetric.com

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item