Any-side-up diagrams for representing scientific disciplines were
introduced by Herbert Walter in his textbook, Genetics, in
1928. Walter's diagram has been adapted here for the discipline
of molecular evolution.
Any-side-up diagrams capture multiple perspectives on a discipline
while not privledging any single perspective by virtue of the orientation
of the text. The concentric circles of the diagram for molecular
evolution are framed by the four major perspectives informing the
study of molecular evolution: systematics, evolutionary genetics,
molecular biology, and genomics. Text in the outer layer of the
concentric circles represent important subjects of inquiry within
molecular evolution. They are placed near perspectives that have
influenced them. Many entries could easily fill this part of the
diagram; only a small subset of subjects are represented here. The
inner circle of the diagram represents the material or objects of
inquiry of molecular evolution: DNA, RNA, and proteins. While this
may seem to include most biologically important molecules, it does
not include all biologically important molecules.
This diagram provides an overview of the many issues under investigation
in molecular evolution. It also posits molecular evolution as a
discipline at the nexus of several others. While the transdisciplinary
nature of molecular evolution is captured in the any-side-up diagram,
the history of this field is not. A historical overview of the study
of molecular evolution is presented in the General
Timeline avaliable here.
This page was written by Michael Dietrich. It was last updated
on May 15, 2004.