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Phylloxera and the grapevine: a sense of common purpose?

Battey, N. H. and Simmonds, P. E. (2005) Phylloxera and the grapevine: a sense of common purpose? Journal of Experimental Botany, 56 (422). pp. 3029-3031. ISSN 0022-0957

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1093/jxb/eri320

Abstract/Summary

The purpose of life is its continuation: survival is the reason things live. Here we explore this 'basic' of biology, by reference to the extraordinary life-cycle of the aphid-like pest phylloxera, and the complexity of its relationship with its host the grapevine. The effort and ingenuity that phylloxera employs to continue itself leads to a doubt that survival alone is sufficient reason. It has frequently been suggested that the reduction of life to a catalogue of facts (by science) creates this doubt, because it robs existence of its essence (which is something other than its mechanics). The part that science is said to steal is what Robert Pirsig calls Quality-the harmonious balance of things. Pirsig seems to imply that this is something inherent in things-and independent from us. A more mundane explanation is that the difference between facts and the complete reality is us-the tendency of mind to connect freely between different kinds of information. This possibility is briefly illustrated here by a myth based on the facts of phylloxera.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences
ID Code:10274
Uncontrolled Keywords:evolution, grapevine, phylloxera, plant-insect interactions, GALL MORPHOLOGY

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