Los Angeles Times

Commentary: Will we care about genes at all in 100 years?

Genes are our modern idiom for itemizing life's variety and explaining human nature. We say there are genes for intelligence and shyness, genes for aggressiveness and maternal love. Researchers get billions from government agencies to carry out "genome-wide association studies" that promise to wrestle down and eventually vanquish disease. Like the atom in physics, the gene is a building block that helps us describe reality.

But are genes, as a concept, here to stay?

Wilhelm Ludvig Johannsen, a Danish botanist with round spectacles and a little white goatee, coined the term in 1909. To his

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