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jean baptiste

Jean-Baptiste Grodwohl

Laboratoire SPHERE Université Paris 7 Denis Diderot 

Le vendredi 11 octobre 2019 - 11h30 Grand salle réunion du CEFE, 1919 route de Mende

In this talk, I will give the first results of my research project on the history of molecular population genetics, which addresses a significant gap in the historiography. Historians have documented in great detail the origins of population genetics (the debates between biometricians and Mendelians, the Fisher-Wright controversy) and the influence of this discipline on evolutionary theory during the first decades of the twentieth century. However, what happened after the Modern Synthesis period is still, to a large extent, unexplored territory. My project aims to shed light on the major transitions that occurred from the early 1960s and the late 1980s, when evolutionary geneticists adopted molecular tools, developed neutral models and reassessed the evolutionary significance of stochastic factors. I will here tackle these developments in a comparative study of two influential laboratories, Motoo Kimura’s Department of Population Genetics in Mishima (Japan) and the Lewontin lab (Chicago-Harvard). Using the archives of these scientists and interviews of their former collaborators, I will describe the dynamics of their respective research programs and discuss how and to what extent the controversy between “neutralists” and “selectionists” was resolved (or not).


Recent publications:
 
Grodwohl, J. B. (2019). Animal Behavior, Population Biology and the Modern Synthesis (1955–1985). Journal of the History of Biology, 1-37.

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