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Natural History, a Master Class

Author(s): Dobson, Andrew P.

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Abstract: Many people think we’re entering a golden age of genomics, with technological breakthroughs yielding an explosion of data along with unprecedented insights into the genes and molecules that underlie life. Personally, I find it all a bit dull and uninspiring. Perhaps this cynicism stems from a conversation I once had with a fanatical, eye-popping cladist who proudly told me, ‘‘We don’t need to save those tropical forests, we’ve already got samples of most of their DNA in the museums!’’ This perspective is slowly giving rise to the significantly deranged belief that we don’t need to worry about the loss of biodiversity: we’ll simply recreate it from stored DNA. The current cult of genomics and its ominous trickle-down effects on high-school biology teaching means it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of the biology that surrounds us. Even so, there’s something about the natural world and its creatures that still sparks a deep fascination and likely inspired many of us to study biology in the first place. Field Notes on Science and Nature reminds us why we find nature so appealing and just how much fun getting into the field can be.
Publication Date: 26-Feb-2013
Electronic Publication Date: 26-Feb-2013
Citation: Dobson, Andrew P. (2013). Natural History, a Master Class. PLoS Biology, 11 (2), e1001496 - e1001496. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001496
DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001496
EISSN: 1545-7885
Pages: e1001496 - e1001496
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: PLoS Biology
Version: Final published version. This is an open access article.

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