CNRS History of Science and Technology Research Center

Paris, France

CNRS History of Science and Technology Research Center

Paris, France
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Bonneuil C.,CNRS History of Science and Technology Research Center | Bonneuil C.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Goffaux R.,FRB | Bonnin I.,FRB | And 4 more authors.
Ecological Indicators | Year: 2012

Various international initiatives have emerged to develop new sets of biodiversity indicators for wild biodiversity but little progress has been made for crop diversity. This study proposes a new methodology to assess the diversity of cultivated species. We developed a new integrative indicator H T* that takes account of varietal richness, spatial evenness, between-variety genetic diversity, and within-variety genetic diversity. This index is compared to existing indexes using a comprehensive historical dataset from a French territory. The study reveals that more varieties (the varietal richness factor) can mean less diversity when (i) their genetic structure is more similar (the effect of between-variety genetic diversity), or (ii) when more diverse landraces are replaced by many homogeneous lines (the effect of within-variety genetic diversity) or (iii) when one or a few varieties become hegemonic in the landscape (the spatial evenness effect). Furthermore, an increased evenness in variety distribution (varietal evenness) can also mean less diversity when varieties are genetically related. This is why indicators which do not take into account the full range of factors (varietal richness, between-variety genetic diversity, spatial evenness and within-variety genetic diversity) may provide a misleading assessment of the state and trend of crop biodiversity. New integrative indicators such as HT* are critically needed. We discuss potential further development such as the use of this indicator for monitoring and the perspective of a broader indicator to assess genetic diversity at the multi-species scale and landscape level. In the future, this indicator could be used to guide managerial decisions to prevent the erosion of crop genetic diversity in agricultural landscapes. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Bonnin I.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Bonneuil C.,CNRS History of Science and Technology Research Center | Goffaux R.,FRB | Montalent P.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Goldringer I.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research
Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment | Year: 2014

Changing and more volatile climate conditions are leading to higher vulnerability and lower resilience for crop production. Recent studies indicate that crop diversity in agricultural fields may ensure pest control and yield stability in the face of environmental changes. However, few studies have evaluated crop diversity in the field, especially at the within-species level. Applying a new indicator, HT*, which integrates both the spatial evenness of different varieties and molecular genetic data (within and between variety genetic diversity), we followed the evolution of bread wheat genetic diversity on French agricultural landscapes during the 20th century. To our knowledge, the monitoring of crop genetic diversity at such a large but detailed spatial and temporal scale has never before been conducted. In comparison to two frequently used but less integrative indicators (the number of varieties grown in the field and their allelic diversity as measured by the Nei index), the HT* indicator revealed increasing genetic homogenization overall. This trend was due to the disappearance of diversity within varieties (initial replacement of landraces by more homogeneous old lines and later by modern pure lines), to the spatial homogenization occurring in the last period of the 20th century with the different 'départements' (French administrative territories) progressively cultivating the same varieties and to their increasing genetic similarities. This result calls into question the effects of plant breeding, seed system organization and seed regulation on wheat genetic diversity, especially in the context of current environmental changes. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Raulin Cerceau F.,French Natural History Museum | Bilodeau B.,CNRS History of Science and Technology Research Center
Acta Astronautica | Year: 2012

Methods dealing with how to contact other planets that are supposed to be inhabited by intelligent civilizations have begun more than one century and a half ago. The historical question has been already treated in several studies and the aim of this paper is not to provide details on that aspect. On the other hand, it could be interesting to make a comparison between the different approaches to contact planets, formulated at different epochs (even if obviously techniques were not in the same state of advancement). The most important characteristics of the earliest messages, remained only on a theoretical form, will be presented. The main features of modern messages, which have been concretely realized, will also be emphasized. Drawing a parallel between these two series of projects could demonstrate what has been considered as unavoidable by both pioneer and modern messages creators, while it has not been proved that the first ones have had any influence on the second ones. The common points emerging from this comparison could then (perhaps) help to select adequate models for an intelligible message intended to ETs, particularly concerning the language forms. Besides this, the differences could illustrate the human cultural advances in the field of METI and underline the tendencies that have been chosen in that field since the last decades. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Roux E.,University of Bordeaux 1 | Roux E.,French Institute of Health and Medical Research | Roux E.,CNRS History of Science and Technology Research Center
Journal of Physiology | Year: 2014

An overview of the scientific literature shows that the concept of function is central in physiology. However, the concept itself is not defined by physiologists. On the other hand, the teleological, namely, the 'goal-directed' dimension of function, and its subsequent explanatory relevance, is a philosophical problem. Intuitively, the function of a trait in a system explains why this trait is present, but, in the early 1960s, Ernest Nagel and Carl Hempel have shown that this inference cannot be logically founded. However, they showed that self-regulated systems are teleological. According to the selectionist theories, the function of an item is its effect that has been selected by natural selection, a process that explains its presence. As they restrict the functional attribution of a trait to its past selective value and not its current properties, these theories are inconsistent with the concept of function in physiology. A more adequate one is the causal role theory, for which a function of a trait in a system is its causal contribution to the functional capacity of the system. However, this leaves unsolved the question of the 'surplus meaning' of the teleological dimension of function. The significance of considering organisms as 'purpose-like' (teleological) systems may reside not in its explanatory power but in its methodological fruitfulness in physiology. In this view, the teleological dimension of physiological functions is convergent to but not imported from, the teleological dimension of evolutionary biology. © 2014 The Physiological Society.

Talairach-Vielmas L.,CNRS History of Science and Technology Research Center
Worldviews: Environment, Culture, Religion | Year: 2014

Charles Kingsley's Alton Locke (1850), written a decade before the publication of Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection, emphasizes newly-emerging definitions of nature and modern perceptions of the interrelations between the human social system and the ecosystem. In so doing, the modern conceptions of the natural environment which the novel highlights, shape a utopian model for a more democratic society. As this paper points out, by using environmental metaphors, Kingsley questions human nature and the potential of the environment to change it. As a result, his depiction of natural ecosystems, though charged with ideology and the weight of conservative discourse, is progressive, inviting humans to change society-and themselves in the process. © 2013 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Esterle L.,French Institute of Health and Medical Research | Picard J.-F.,CNRS History of Science and Technology Research Center
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences | Year: 2011

By focusing on funding methods, this paper considers the way in which medical research eventually led to the science-based medicine that is prevalent in France today. This process seems to have taken place in three stages during the second half of the twentieth century. In the 1940s and 1950s, two major events occurred. The first was the creation of a national health insurance fund in France, which opened up new reasons for, and ways of, funding medical research. The second was the development of antibiotics, which triggered a revival of clinical medicine. In the 1960s and 1970s, a proactive government science policy allowed the life sciences and medical research to come together in the wake of a burgeoning new science: molecular biology. Thus, in 1964, the creation of the National Health and Medical Research Institute (Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale or INSERM), destined to "molecularize" medical research, was seen as the fulfillment of the government's ambitious research policy. Today, with medicine irreversibly embedded in scientific and technical rationality, health has become a major issue in modern societies. This paper therefore touches on some of the key features of biomedical research, including the revival of funding systems for clinical research and the development of a system of research grants that was made possible by patient organizations and the creation of new funding agencies. The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

Dauguet B.,CNRS History of Science and Technology Research Center
Biological Conservation | Year: 2015

Biodiversity offsetting is now a widespread tool in industrialised states, especially in North America and the European Union where it forms a regulatory requirement. In principle, environmental assessment and the implementation of offsets mainly require ecological knowledge. However, in practice, by relying upon the equity and exchangeability of the habitats concerned, biodiversity offsetting creates some difficulties and contradictions that planners have to overcome. I make the assumption that, because of its exchangeability principle, this process also requires accounting and, more specifically, market exchange accounting. By analysing a French biodiversity offset management plan (BOMP), together with guidelines and regulations, I show that the assessment - reducing habitats to what they have in common - and equity - reducing habitats to an exchange value - proceed from market accounting and ontologically transform habitats into commodities. This viewpoint suggests that biodiversity offsetting should be endorsed very cautiously by conservation biology as it produces strong normative outlines compatible with a commodification process. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

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