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  1. Microbial Diversity and the “Lower-Limit” Problem of Biodiversity.Christophe Malaterre - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (2):219-239.
    Science is now studying biodiversity on a massive scale. These studies are occurring not just at the scale of larger plants and animals, but also at the scale of minute entities such as bacteria and viruses. This expansion has led to the development of a specific sub-field of “microbial diversity”. In this paper, I investigate how microbial diversity faces two of the classical issues encountered by the concept of “ biodiversity ”: the issues of defining the units of biodiversity and (...)
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  • Can Synthetic Biology Shed Light on the Origins of Life?Christophe Malaterre - 2009 - Biological Theory 4 (4):357-367.
    It is a most commonly accepted hypothesis that life originated from inanimate matter, somehow being a synthetic product of organic aggregates, and as such a result of some sort of prebiotic synthetic biology. In the past decades, the newly formed scientific discipline of synthetic biology has set ambitious goals by pursuing the complete design and production of genetic circuits, entire genomes, or even whole organisms. I argue that synthetic biology might also shed some novel and interesting perspectives on the question (...)
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  • What Could Arsenic Bacteria Teach Us About Life?Emily C. Parke - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (2):205-218.
    In this paper, I discuss the recent discovery of alleged arsenic bacteria in Mono Lake, California, and the ensuing debate in the scientific community about the validity and significance of these results. By situating this case in the broader context of projects that search for anomalous life forms, I examine the methodology and upshots of challenging biochemical constraints on living things. I distinguish between a narrower and a broader sense in which we might challenge or change our knowledge of life (...)
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