PhilSci Archive

An account of conserved functions and how biologists use them to integrate cell and evolutionary biology

Sterner, Beckett and Elliott, Steve and Wideman, Jeremy (2022) An account of conserved functions and how biologists use them to integrate cell and evolutionary biology. [Preprint]

[img]
Preview
Text
Conserved function-Full-Sept27-2022.pdf

Download (6MB) | Preview

Abstract

In this paper, we characterize a type of functional explanation that addresses why a homologous trait that originated deep in the evolutionary history of a clade is observed to have remained widespread and largely unchanged across many lineages in the clade. We argue this type of explanation is provided when evolutionary biologists attribute conserved functions to traits, both phenotypic and genetic. The concept of conserved function applies broadly to many biological domains, but we illustrate its importance in particular using examples at the intersection of evolution and cell biology. We also show how the study of conserved functions serves to integrate knowledge of both a trait’s evolutionary history of natural selection and its causal effects on fitness, but in an overlooked way that does not rely on positive selection. Moreover, we show how conserved function provides a novel basis for addressing several objections against evolutionary functions raised by Robert Cummins.


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

Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Sterner, Beckettbsterne1@asu.edu0000-0001-5219-7616
Elliott, Stevestephen.elliott@asu.edu0000-0002-7736-1002
Wideman, Jeremyjeremy.wideman@asu.edu
Keywords: conserved sequence, sequence alignment, functional inference, signaling, integrative pluralism
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Biology > Function/Teleology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
General Issues > Explanation
Depositing User: Dr. Beckett Sterner
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2022 14:56
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2022 14:56
Item ID: 21445
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Biology > Function/Teleology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
General Issues > Explanation
Date: November 2022
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/21445

Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Monthly Downloads for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item