Dictionary of History and Philosophy of Sciences
- Le Moigne J-L
Until now, this characterization was carried out by the implementation of empirical, physiological, biochemical data, based on the implicit assumption of a bijective mapping between structure/sequence and function. At the beginning of 1980s, approaches referring to the intuitive concepts of ortholog and paralog genes (which received their formal definition later on) have led to the cloning of great functional units like the human lymphocyte antigen (HLA) Complex (1) and to the postulation of mechanist assumptions (2) to explain similarities and differences at functional level between related gene products. In the 1990s, the positional cloning (3), starting from phenotypes has led to gene identification according to the position within the genome, thus, supplementing the device of functional analysis of the genome. During the two preceding decades, more than 10.000 mammal genes have been characterized from the point of view of their structure and of their function.