Question Submission 4

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At the beginning of the 20th century, it was established that chromosomes were directly related to inheritance, and any change that occurred to the chromosomes would result in a change in inheritance. It was also believed that since all chromosomes appeared similar, and responded to manipulation in the same fashion, that they were all of equal importance. Boveri challenged this idea, and insisted that each chromosome differed from each other, and that a complete set of chromosomes was necessary for normal inheritance. This is what he set out to prove with his experiments. I have several questions regarding Boveri’s thought process. To begin with, why did he insist that each chromosome was unique prior to his experiments? Did he believe that each chromosome served a different function? What, if any, did he know about chromosomes that have multiple effects? Was he interested just physical characteristics, or other forms of inheritance as well?

In Prof. Griesemer's article, "Tracking Organic Processes: Representation & Research Styles in Classical Embryology and Genetics," he claims that scientists follow "processes" when investigating phenomena. These processes influence how scientific findings are presented and understood, and lead to some aspects of the findings being emphasized ("foregrounded") and other aspects being deemphasized ("backgrounded"). If I understood the article correctly, Griesemer is claiming that Mendel's process was a developmental one, rather than a hereditary one. If this is the case, why was the hereditary/genetic aspect of Mendel's work ultimately foregrounded and the developmental aspect backgrounded?

My question comes from reading Ch. 5 of Moore on Drosophilia and Morgan. Even though I am a science major and have taken genetics, I thought that his logic of the the white eyed mutation being found on a sex chromosome hard to follow. From what I understood, he believed in classical Mendelian genetics and used the punnet square model to form his hypothesis. At one point, Moore states that in order agree with Morgan's original hypothesis, "one had to assume that meiosis in the WwX males was unusual and that all red-eyed males are heterozygous". Crossing a WwX male with a WwXX female would statistically lead to a number of WWX males that would be red-eyed because that is the dominant gene. While I could see that he was making ad hoc adjustments, how could he justify this using mendel's classical genetics?

I am curious how in the early twentieth century sex determination was rationalized outside of mammals and other XY organisms. McClung nailed the sex chromosome in drosophila, but how were sexual characteristics of reptiles, amphibians, and so many other organisms explained when the factors that influence their sexual identity were not yet known (incubation temperature, etc)? Were these cases seen as evidence against the sex chromosome hypothesis or simply unexplainable at the time?

I am curious as to how the sexual determination factors of other organisms were explained in the early twentieth century. McClung was spot on with the sex chromosome theory in fruit flies, but what about reptiles, amphibians, and other organisms whose sex determination factors were not understood (incubation temperature, etc)? Were these cases seen as evidence against the sex chromosome theory or just as unexplainable at the time?

Wimsatt (2006) identifies two types of reduction: successional reduction, which relates theories at the same level, and inter-level reduction which seeks to explain higher-level phenomena in terms of their lower-level constituent laws.

It seems that the latter, rather than the former, maps onto the conception of reduction we have from the distinction between phenomenological and reductionistic laws. Their homonymity, however, raises the question of how they are related. Can we find a general account that encompasses both inter-theoretic and inter-level reduction in a meaningful way? Do they serve the same or similar aims in scientific reasoning? Do we gain anything by calling them by the same name, or does it obscure a significant difference between them?

In Sturtevant (1913) during the discussion of the link between the sex of a fly & the wing length and the sex of a fly and the eye color, I was struck by something whilst reading about coupling. Specifically I am having a hard time understanding how coupling can apply in certain characters while not applying with other characters.
What is the selecting force on whether coupling can apply/ does apply in characters? If the answer is in the location of the characters on the chromosome(s) then what force determines the location in the chromosome, which then dictates whether coupling can/ will be applied?

In Chapter 5, Moore points out that, “it sometimes appears that much of the progress in science is due to fortunate accidents”. We have already seen such 'fortunate accidents' with Mendel and his selection of pea plants as his model organism. Sturtevant attended the only opening lectures that Morgan gave in his twenty four years of teaching at Columbia. Morgan himself was forced to use Drosophila Melanogaster, instead of rabbits, which proved to be essential for his research in genetics. What is it about the practice of science that makes it so conducive to these accidents occurring? Especially, scientific fields that are in their infancy? If we trace these three examples from fundamental Mendelian laws to linkage mapping, how much credit can we put on the shoulders of these 'fortunate accidents' for the formation of classical genetics? What place does the scientist have? What would have happened if Morgan did his experiments on rabbits and it fell to another scientist to use a better suited model organism? Would Morgan be any less of scientist?

My question comes from Prof. Griesemer's chapter entitled Tracking Organic Processes: Representations and Research Styles in Classical Embryology and Genetics. In it, he wrote that "paying attention to particular aspects or properties in order to follow a process, marking interventions, and analyzing the causal character of a process in terms of counterfactual support may all be entwined in a single activity." If I understood the chapter correctly, Griesemer is undertaking the project of disentangling all of these different aspects of Mendel's representational strategies by means of content analysis (385), explanation of specific types of notation (389), and presentation of factors such as experimentation that serve to shift Mendel's theoretical focus (392).

The notion of what ideas have been foregrounded/backgrounded seems to come out of the analysis of factors such as these for a given episodes in the history of science, but how can we alter this approach for contemporary projects in biology? (Intuitively, this sort of meta-narration of what goes on in the lab seems as though it would create conceptually focus in place of ambigity surrounding what exactly the scientist is observing, Q or Q'.) Maybe a more specific way to ask this question is in what way is this view of Mendel an "exemplar for those modern biologists who seek theoretical unification"? (377)

It was stated in chapter 5 of Moore that we can conclude sex is determined at fertilization, at the chromosomal level, because of the presence of the X or Y chromosome (or lack of a second chromosome). At least in humans, why does the embryo begin by developing the same (no distinct sex difference) and then have to differentiate into appropriate sex? This seems like a waste of "energy" since the sperm has already determined this. Is there an evolutionary reason for this?

The shift from Natural Theology towards Methodological Individualism (the idea that understanding is a conglomeration of the decisions and actions of individuals), which Wimsatt touched on in lecture, left pronounced changes on the modalities of inquires into the processes of biology; specifically those concerned with heredity and evolution. Sturtevant's breakthrough research on linkages appear to me as a defining moment in this shift. His writing style is definitive as to the lengths of his investigations. The differences between paradigms becomes obvious when Sturtevant's article is compared to Darwin's. I read Sturtevant's as substantially less argumentative and significantly more analytic than Darwin's, despite Darwin's analysis being rigorous and fruitful.

In the decades between these two brilliant men's work, the world saw broadly stretching political organizations attempt to make international coalitions i.e. the Second International, the IWW, and others, by critically analyzing social mechanisms and simultaneously demanding solidarity. Was the change in scientific methodology within biology the result of social forces primarily external to the realms of science attempting to reorganize society? Or rather, was the emergence of Methodological Individualism an unavoidable result of increasingly complicated research techniques that reduced the importance of argument and gave evidential data the ultimate influence?

In Tracking Organic Processes: Representation and Research Styles in Classical Embryology and Genetics, Dr. Griesemer levies the claim that the study of genetics and the study of development seek to explain the same causal process (p.378 – 379). Moreover, Prof. Griesemer states that genetics and embryology are split over research styles and theoretical commitments rather than being split due to their attempt to understand distinct biological processes (p. 380). Later Prof. Griesemer states, “My central claim is that because geneticists and embryologists follow the same process…” (p. 381). For this reason, research styles in each domain will turn out to be similar.

I am having trouble seeing the consequences of this very basic causal similarity. If genetics, broadly construed, is concerned with the character of chromosomes/genes/DNA, and the transmission/copy/replication of those entities, and development is concerned with how genetic processes result in the phenotypic (also broadly construed) characters we see, then yes, we are looking at the same causal process. But, are we not looking at very different, perhaps relevantly different, temporal points in that causal process? If we aren't looking at different temporal points strictly, then aren't we looking at relevantly different entities and interactions? For these reasons, wouldn’t the distinct research styles and theoretical commitments be justified?

Certainly, there is relevant overlap between the two domains. But then, wouldn’t that do the justificatory work for their unification, rather than the fact that they describe the same process. Am I just confusing myself by broadly and generally construing the two domains?

This question concerns "Tracking Organic Processes: Representation and Research Styles in Classical Embryology and Genetics" by Griesemer. I liked this paper for its success in articulating a view of conceptual change in genetics, development, and heredity that goes against the idea that scientists are getting closer to carving nature at its joints! I am curious if people here think that the method that Griesemer follows here can be extended with minor changes to other areas of inquiry, including other sciences and time periods, but in particular philosophy. Another way of asking this is, are the themes of process-following, foregrounding, and backgrounding more general themes that can be extended to other areas successfully?

Last class Prof Wimsatt discussed how false models can help devise better theories (that is, theories which are better at describing whatever it is that scientists are trying to describe). We can call these, descriptions of ever increasing accuracy. The implication being that by knowing the limitations of a model, when it applies and when it does not, scientists can refine questions, and hence increase the accuracy of their descriptions of nature ergo refining their predictive power. If, sticking to false models can be fruitful; should scientists, when attempting to explore a new research field, create very simple models and abide by them (in a similar way to what Kuhn would describe as a paradigm) and see how fruitful these models are; instead of trying to come up with a more accurate model? Conversely, can using false models (Weismann diagrams depicting soma to phenotype) hinder the development of science? At its core, I want to ask whether scientists should adhere to false models and how strong should this adherence be?

This question might be somewhat delayed from the readings on Mendel, but when reading Moore, chapter 5, about the rediscovery and acceptance of Mendelism as a theory of inheritance, I started to wonder why the actual mechanism driving the dominance of certain traits isn't discussed. I don't doubt the truth of Mendelian inheritance, and obviously the data fits perfectly well with experiment, but it seems curious that a central feature of the theory (namely, dominance and recessiveness in alleles) goes unexplained. Clearly, a coin-flip between two traits is simpler, so there must be a reason why it is not the case. Why is there such a dearth of hypotheses for why certain traits are expressed more often than others? This is most likely ignorance on my part, but the readings gave no explanation for the phenomenon of dominance in genetics. (And, if a somewhat short explanation is possible, what is the mechanism that drives this facet of inheritance?)

In Griesemer's chapter 12, he emphasizes the importance of the mathematical expression of a combination series and notation in Mendel's work. On page 386, he sates, "Mendel's first mention of the concept of a developmental series makes it clear that he saw a connection between the mathematical expression of a combination series, which mathematically describes all possible combinations of characters, and the biological process of development of offspring of each combination or kind..."

I wonder to what extent Mendel's notation helped him to differentiate between dominant and recessive genes. It seems as though biologists working on heredity before Mendel (i.e. Darwin) did not have quite as developed of a notation for their work. What impact did this have on the study of heredity in general? What other parts of biology or science at large have benefited from more precise notation?

My question is based off of a topic we had in discussion rather than in the reading. While we were having discussion Professor Wimsatt mentioned a species of fly that has an evolutionary development that increases its chance to find a mate, but has long term health effects that eventually lead to its death. How could this be seen as an evolutionary advantage? Based off of other organisms it would seem that survivability would be more appealing than a detrimental attraction to a mate. We can also see other examples of organisms choosing to reproduce even though it will be the direct cause of their death. So the real question would be: Is it more important to carry on your genetic line than it is to survive long term (especially as a male,) and if so would there not eventually be a point of eradication for such species?

As I was reading Griesemer (ch.12) I continually was thinking about how Mendel's ideas were eventually related to human genetics. Mendel studied pea plants and developed his laws of independent assortment and segregation and along with what we know as genotypes (AA,Aa,aa). How does the work he started apply to the study of human genetics as we know it today?

In “Tracking Organic Processes: Representations and Research Styles in Classical Embryology and Genetics,” Griesemer discusses the significance of the precise language Mendel used, specifically the frequency of the word “development” to support his argument that Mendel’s process intended to study developmental theory. What do those who interpret Mendel’s work as merely hereditary in nature think he was talking about if it wasn’t in regards to embryological development? Words often change in meaning or significance throughout time; this paired with the fact that meaning is frequently lost in translation as well, could have led to the reason why people interpret Mendel’s work in a hereditary context instead of a developmental one. Or was it simply that the use of the word “development” in Mendel’s paper was intentionally redefined to fit within the domain of genetics and heredity?

This submission deals more with a question about the content of Griesemer’s passage rather than a particular implication stemming from the reading. As stated in the beginning of the section ‘Mendel as a Developmentalist,’ Griesemer states that his goal is to understand how Mendel’s methodologies and terminologies led to his work being incorporated into a genetic conception of the process he was studying as opposed to the developmental conceptions that Griesemer believes were the motivation for Mendel’s work (p. 383). This can be summed up by saying that Griesemer was interested in how the concepts of development in Mendel’s work were overshadowed by the genetic implications his results later provided. Griesemer then goes on to give evidence as to why the developmental aspects of hybridization are the core of Mendel’s work.(i.e. dominant characters needing to pass unchanged to the whole offspring, and hybrid characters needing to maintain the same behavior as in the first generation, p. 390). My question, then, is in regards to whether I’m properly assessing Griesemer’s argument. Is Griesemer arguing the idea that rather than having Mendel’s developmental theories in the background of his results, they should actually be the “backbone” of the later genetic implications his results led to? Or is the argument more centralized around the interpretation (developmental vs. genetic) of Mendel’s character development series (p. 391), which Griesemer states was developmental in nature, but since the series used character combinations it allowed for the prediction of character states in the progeny without attention to the developmental implications of the combinations (p. 395)?

My question challenges whether we actually know what we are relatively certain we know about the origin of hereditary and variation. In Morgan’s work along with Sturtevant, Bridges, and Muller the model organism Drosophila melanoganster was used during experimentation in order to determine the origin of hereditary and variation. The scientific community were very fortunate, as it seems, that Drosophila was used for experimentation as appose to some organism lacking a easy-to-follow and relevant to human biology XY sex chromosome system. If some other organism was chosen that did not provide science with similar insight, then science could possibly be much further behind in this field today. But with this in mind, how do we know that the model organisms that we use are representative to the processes in other organism and in humans and other organism? Is it wrong, or perhaps naive, to extrapolate findings obtained under laboratory conditions to explain phenomena that occurs in nature and in phylogenically very different organisms as to be more than a guide to understanding the bigger picture?

I found Greisemer's approach to the history of science incredibly insightful and appealing. The running analogy between the development of science and the development of species illustrated the dynamic, interconnected nature of reality and effectively unified social and material scientific theory. While I agree in this conception of the cosmos, it creates some intellectual tension.
Major advances in modern science have been made possible by "specialists", but if fields of science are not discrete entities, but inter (or intra) dependent concepts that are mutually informative, how can anyone justify (or even conceive of) specialization?

Similarly, localized problems are never entirely localizable; If you are interested in understanding a particular knot in the web of the universe, how far must you follow each thread to be epistemically satisfied?

In the article by Sturtevant, it is discussed that there is an attempt being made to try to discover the distances between any two factors by using the cross-overs as an index. There is talk about how there is no actual measurable distance between genes, but it is clear that closer genes are less likely to cross over than genes that are further away. My question is what exactly causes an area to be "strong" or "weak" in terms of recombinant genetics, because these factors seem to cause unexplainable events in the testing of cross-over occurrence.

Woops...forgot to post the question here after i e-mailed it ><

Here is my question submission 4. It comes from the reading that is due for tomorrow "Tracking Organic Processes..." by James Griesemer.

Griesemer talks alot about Mendel and the understanding of his work from pages 383 and on. A lot of what he is trying to portray is that Mendel was more concerned with the deveopment of hybrids and not with genetics and heredity as a whole. My question actually stems from this quote on pg. 388: "I claimed above that Mendel's theory is not Mendel's law and that Mendel's theory is a theory of the development of hybrids"

Is Griesemer stating that (in Mendel's mind) the developmental series and conclusions that were drawn from Mendel's experiment were solely describing hybrids and were only later attributed to genetics and heredity as a whole by Mendel's predecessors?

and

That our interpretation of the data Mendel presented actually gives Mendel more credit than he deserves?

I think that Griesemer is saying exactly what you think. This was stressed by Griesemer in his lecture, namely when he mentioned the necessary assumption of equal distribution of factors.

I do not know that our interpretation of Mendel's data gives him more credit than he deserves but it does make one question the things we do attribute to Mendel and his work.

Also, I thought your question was interesting because it focuses on exactly what I thought was the main picture Griesemer was trying to paint us during Lecture on Tuesday.

I am starting to conceive of scientific understanding as an infinitely dimensional fabric. In this infinitely dimensional space, scientists track patterns in individual threads. This activity is Griesemer's "process tracking". Individual threads are plotted through time and space to create an increasingly multidimensional understanding. With several dimensions established, scientists are then able to prepare and analyze cross-sections through the "space" of science; linear understanding become planar. As the history of microscopy has shown us, preparation often distorts the image. The development of planar understanding requires the scientist to establish a certain perspective/plane. The science of optics illustrates how perspective alters the image. The alteration of the image based on perspective is what Griesemer calls "foregrounding" and "backgrounding".

I am trying desperately (with some illusion of success) to come up with a graphic representation of this concept, but graphics are not well-suited to represent infinitely dimensional entities. I suddenly have a greater respect for quantum theorists.

It's important to note that the foreground-background distinction is not always clear in cross-section images; it requires some auxiliary knowledge or assumption.


I found this question particularly interesting. I initially had the very same worries and questions about false models, but slowly developed a different perspective. Chris asks the following: "If, sticking to false models can be fruitful; should scientists, when attempting to explore a new research field, create very simple models and abide by them (in a similar way to what Kuhn would describe as a paradigm) and see how fruitful these models are; instead of trying to come up with a more accurate model?"

I would say that "sticking" to false models as a strategy is a minor, yet important, mistranslation of Prof. Wimsatt. Rather, actively decomposing knowingly false models of a certain type, cases 1, 2, 3, and 4 on page 101, leads to particular insights, predictions, and identifications of biases, which then lead to better/truer models. There is no deliberate choice to stick to the false model as an accurate representation of the process being modeled at the initial model building stage. Rather, the heuristic being advanced is decomposing models, after the fact, to determine their biases and limits for the purposes of obtaining better models in the future. Prof. Wimsatt claims, "Isn't it always better to have a true model than a false one? Naturally it is, but this is never a choice that we are given..." (p. 103). And this is why we have Chapter 6. It is an elucidation of how to appropriately use false models (already designed and in use) to reach better ones. It is not meant to support or advocate adherence to or construction of false models. It is not a guide to model building. Build the best model you can. Once built, chapter 6 provides a way of getting to a better theory.


I think that science is best served when we start from the details and minutiae and infer our laws and models from the bottom up. 'Specialism' is a necessary part of uncovering these details and shouldn't be viewed as misguided or narrow-minded. What we find, I think, is that the more specialized we become the more accurately we can uncover and interpret these esoteric details. These details, ideally, will be used to construct more reliable models that are closer to representing the functioning of the 'real world'. Furthermore, it is usually at the point of hyper-specialism that the large-scale interconnections are uncovered. We spent centuries assuming that the variation and spectrum of observable phenomena was due to fundamental differences in essence. It took the specialization of atomic scientists to discover the interconnected way in which all matter is substantiated. Are specialization and the 'big picture' mutually exclusive, or is it possible that they function in a complimentary manner?

There is no force that governs coupling of characteristics. Rather, it is the physical distance of the gene on the chromosome that determines whether genes are linked or not. The closer the genes are to each other, the more tightly linked they are, because crossing of chromosomes is less likely to occur between the two genes (they do not assort independently). So, some characteristics are not coupled because they are either coded for on different chromosomes or are sufficiently far away from each other on a single chromosome that they essentially assort independently through crossing over.

Will's question: This question concerns "Tracking Organic Processes: Representation and Research Styles in Classical Embryology and Genetics" by Griesemer. I liked this paper for its success in articulating a view of conceptual change in genetics, development, and heredity that goes against the idea that scientists are getting closer to carving nature at its joints! I am curious if people here think that the method that Griesemer follows here can be extended with minor changes to other areas of inquiry, including other sciences and time periods, but in particular philosophy. Another way of asking this is, are the themes of process-following, foregrounding, and backgrounding more general themes that can be extended to other areas successfully?

I actually had a similar question/thought myself. Being that philosophy of math is following the lead of philosophy of biology, Griesemer's hypothesis have made me wonder how to extend them to my own field. The theme of process following can definitely be extended to mathematics, especially when looking at math education. The ability to follow procedures has been over-emphasized in elementary through college mathematics educations. Even for mathematicians, I would be curious about how much processes impacts their work. I would like more time to consider Griesmer's themes of foregrounding and backgrounding but I would not be surprised if these could be could be extended beyond the sciences as well.

It seems to me that an adaptation which caused an organism to be more likely to reproduce and less likely to survive would always be more advantageous than an adaptation which caused the organism to have a higher survival rate. The longevity of an organism has no impact on its fitness unless it is using its longer lifespan to reproduce more! From an evolutionary standpoint, an organism is as good as dead the moment it stops reproducing. (Of course, this may not be strictly true in organisms who provide parental care, but as far as I know flies do not fit into this category.)

It is more important to males to carry out their genetic lines. I recently learned in an individual differences class that males, evolutionarily, are out looking to produce because they have an unlimited amount of sperm and time to reproduce. Females on the other hand, especially humans, are looking for the a good person to reproduce with because they have a limited time to reproduce and they are pregnant for a long period of time. I don't know why the females are picking males that have a trait that lead to long term health effects. I also learned in this class that females, evolutionarily, are attracted to more attractive males, and these attractive males are healthy and have good genes. Which then leads to the female wanting to reproduce with them so their offspring can have the "good genes" of the male.

I don't think there would be a point of eradication because there goal is to reproduce, so that is what they are going to do before they die. And for the flies, I think it is less likely because a female can produce many offspring at one time.

This brings up an important/interesting fact about science. Progress can't really be made unless a person thinks differently and/or questions the established norms in science. I think Boveri was doing what great minds like Darwin and Einstein did by raising controversial ideas which caused them to be pioneers in their fields of work. Boveri might not have bought into the established thought of chromosomes and inheritance in the 20th century. Maybe Boveri thought that the evidence to support the claim that chromosomes were all similar wasn't substantial enough so he wanted to see if he could prove the established thought wrong. Because Boveri thought that each chromosome was unique, it's likely that Boveri also thought that each chromosome served a different function. The bottom-line is, advancements in scientific knowledge owe a lot to people that are willing to think differently.

While sex is technically determined upon fertilization, it isn't discernible until later on in embryonic development, as you noted. The general reasons for this, as far as I've been taught, is that the first regions to develop in the embryo (i.e. brain, heart, spine, etc.) all initially develop the same for males and females. It's not until specific hormones (estrogen, testosterone, etc.) are secreted within the embryo that you begin to see sexual development. These hormones can't be secreted until the major bodily organs, specifically the brain, are somewhat developed. Therefore, there really isn't a 'waste of energy' since the pre-sexual development phase of the embryo is going to develop the same way, regardless of sex. It's actually a conservation of energy on the genetic scale since a uniform pre-sexual development equates to less genes that are specific for male and female development, and ultimately a smaller genome. Main point: the further along an embryo can go without differentiating into sex, the more conservative the organism's genome becomes since more genes will be the same for both male and female development.

A compelling question Wesley. I was troubled by the same concept. I only have thoughts on the subject and no certainty, but is it possible that coupling of specific traits is merely coincidental regarding which traits are coupled? The ordering of characters within DNA is random, is it not? (I have yet to take Genetics, so if someone knows this to be true or false please reply and support or correct my supposition.) If so, then the locations where crossing over occurs coincidentally links specific traits together, ones in between crossover sites on the chromosome. Thus characters that are linked are not necessarily connected in any way other then superficially, and there is no selection process at work on the coupled characters. On the other hand, if genes are ordered by some mechanism on the chromosome (besides by copying a source of genetic material) then it would be reasonable to assume nature has selected for specific characters to be coupled.

Regarding the example, if the traits are linked to the sex of individuals then their coupling would indicate that the characters expressed are located on the sex chromosomes, and nothing further. There are certainly characters linked to characters other then sex. (I have read human hair form (straight, curly, wavy) is believed to be coupled with genes for eye color.) I would love to hear some more input on this, because I really don't know.

I just read roha0014...hope my post still helped someone besides me. :)

I think, Griesmer argues that Mendel was interested in two aspects of the phenomena that he study: a)the traits of organisms; b)the inheritance of such traits. These are both developmental questions because they did not deal with what we would now call genotype but rather with the resulting phenotype. So, Mendel's notation can be taken as an indicator of the outcome of development (at least in the first part of the paper). On the second, he seems to explore the inheritance of developmental tendencies.

I looked up the definitions of development and heredity on biology-online.com: Development-“The series of changes which animal and vegetable organisms undergo in their passage from the embryonic state to maturity, from a lower to a higher state of organization.”
“Heredity is the means by which an offspring acquires the qualities of its parents. Genetics is the science that studies heredity.”
What Mendel was studying looks at the traits of the individual and the inheritance of these traits. We know this to be heredity today but as you said Amanda the definition of “development” may have been different during Mendel’s time or has changed over time.

I think the dichotomy between specialization and generalized science can be particularly useful in trying to explain how science "develops", but I think there is maybe a tacit assumption about "progression" (truth?), justified or not, that needs to be addressed. I think the Olby reading may emit some light on the dark side, namely eugenics. When scientists are "process tracking" the fabrics of reality, I think it might be difficult to really see how much of the process is fictitious from the beginning, and further what conclusions resulting therefrom are actually justified. A "good" scientific method might help to ward off paradigms of this nature, and I don't mean to imply that the development of science is (morally speaking) even and linear, but the plane of what is fictitious is not always contested.

At the beginning of the 20th century, it was established that chromosomes were directly related to inheritance, and any change that occurred to the chromosomes would result in a change in inheritance. It was also believed that since all chromosomes appeared similar, and responded to manipulation in the same fashion, that they were all of equal importance. Boveri challenged this idea, and insisted that each chromosome differed from each other, and that a complete set of chromosomes was necessary for normal inheritance. This is what he set out to prove with his experiments. I have several questions regarding Boveri’s thought process. To begin with, why did he insist that each chromosome was unique prior to his experiments? Did he believe that each chromosome served a different function? What, if any, did he know about chromosomes that have multiple effects? Was he interested just physical characteristics, or other forms of inheritance as well?

My answer to this is that I think he had a hunch from prior experimentation (of his own) as well as reading other peoples experiments as to the importance of each individual chromosome. Before actually preforming the experiment, he had realized by examining others results that the abnormally developed embryos were a result of chromosomes number. Essentially, I think he took clues from prior research and developed his own experiment to test it.

Chris Orlic asked:
At its core, I want to ask whether scientists should adhere to false models and how strong should this adherence be?

I think this gets at the deeper question of what it means for a model to be "true" of the world. Models, as heuristic devices, are always constrained to be false in some substantial sense. With that in mind, I can think of two ways in which we can interpret the statement that false models lead to a better understanding. The first is a weak version that simply points out that our models are conceptual tools that nonetheless help us get a handle on natural phenomenon, but which will always face some difficulty referring. The second is a strong version, which says that models that are both generally false and specifically wrong with respect to the phenomena they aim to model help us closer to understanding those phenomena. If I understood Prof. Wimsatt correctly, he was making the later rather than the former claim. In that case, I'd say that scientists should absolutely adhere to false models, but in a provisional fashion, much more akin to the tracking commitments Prof. Griesemer describes than the ontological commitments we might expect to be given to the entities models postulate.