Članek o epigenetiki sprožil burne odzive nekaterih znanstvenikov

V reviji The New Yorker je pred nekaj dnevi izšel članek Same but Different – How epigenetics can blur the line between nature and nurture, v katerem onkolog in profesor medicine Siddhartha Mukherjee piše o epigenetiki. Razmeroma dolg tekst je odlomek iz njegove nove knjige The Gene: An Intimate History, ki je tik pred izidom, njegovo prvo knjigo Kralj vseh bolezni – Biografija raka, za katero je dobil Pulitzerjevo nagrado, pa imamo tudi v slovenskem prevodu.

Po objavi članka so se na Mukherjeeja vsule kritike nekaterih genetikov, ki mu očitajo, da področja epigenetike v sestavku ni predstavil dovolj skrbno. Odzive je v dveh daljših sestavkih na svojem blogu zbral Jerry Coyne:

Tule je nekaj najbolj burnih komentarjev:

Wally Gilbert, Nobel Laureate, biochemist and molecular biologist, Harvard University (retired):
The New Yorker article is so wildly wrong that it defies rational analysis.  Too much of the “epigenetic” discussion is wishful thinking seeking Lamarckian effects, and ignoring the role of sequence specific regulatory proteins and genes. (as well as sequence specific RNA molecules).

Richard Mann, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Columbia University Medical School:
It is really sad and embarrassing that something as awful as this appeared in such a respected magazine, and by a (formerly) respected author. Ugh

John Greally, Professor, Depts. of Medicine, Genetics, and Pediatrics; Director, Center for Epigenomics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine:
It really is a horribly damaging piece.

Oliver Hobert, Professor of Biological Sciences, Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institure, Columbia University:
A truly painful read. But funny to see the Yamanaka experiment described as proof for something that it disproves. Sad that the author lets himself be fooled by people who really should know better and that he propagates what is an intellectually dishonest perspective of the problem of gene regulation.

Mukherjee se je na kritike odzval s podrobnim pojasnilom:

Dear commentators,
Thank you for your immensely detailed comments about my piece in the New Yorker. Please find my responses below. I have divided the responses into two general areas: specific responses to your concerns, and some general comments on the field. I apologize for the point-by-point format of the letter, but I think it serves the field better and helps clarify my responses to your comments. I’d be delighted to discuss these further. With your concerns listed, I think it might be illuminating to the field to publish your comments and these responses in some scientific platform; however, they are far too scientifically dense for the average New Yorker reader. …
(Vir: Siddhartha Muhkerjee responds to the critique of his recent New Yorker piece.)

Še odlomek iz članka na Nature News:

Speaking to Nature, Mukherjee says that, after re-reading the story, he felt that he put too much emphasis on the “speculative” roles of histone modification and DNA methylation. “This was an error,” he says, adding that a mention of transcription factors could have helped to avoid “an unnecessarily polarizing reading of the piece”. He says that The New Yorker is “very likely” to run a response.
The New Yorker says that it stands by the article, saying in a statement that it had a “narrower focus” than Mukherjee’s upcoming book, which it says goes into detail about the history of gene-regulation research.
(vir: Researcher under fire for New Yorker epigenetics article : Nature News & Comment)

In mnenje novinarja Vox:

I can’t fully analyze all the critics’ concerns in this post. But this seems clear: If Murherkjee is guilty of something, it’s omission. He didn’t make it clear that other, prominent, scientists would choose to tell this story in a different way.
(vir: Why scientists are infuriated with a New Yorker article on epigenetics – Vox)

Tule je še članek o epigenetiki iz arhiva Kvarkadabre: Epigenetika – kar imamo zapisano v genih, ni nujno naša usoda.

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