The worldwide impact of discoveries over recent years in genetics is evident, but also worth considering is the potential effect on the performance of biology. Could these achievements spark an upsurge in creativity elsewhere within the life sciences? The reason this may be likely is that, since the dawn of the 20th century--and even earlier, going back to Gregor Mendel's experiments--the gene has been an abstraction par excellence, a chemical entity described without direct evidence of its existence. Such an approach to problems, long taken by the physical sciences, already has brought new creativity to the generally more methodical and conservative biological sciences.1

"The physical scientists have more fun. Their theories are more eccentric; they live in a world in which the unexpected is everyday," mathematician and writer Jacob Bronowski declared in 1958. "The biological sciences are young, so that fact and theory look alike; the new entities...

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