Talk:Matthew Meselson

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Geppeto35's edits[edit]

Background Geppeto35 included a citation to "The Exact Distributions of FIS under Partial Asexuality in Small Finite Populations with Mutation" which is the sole support for the following claims : "the Meselson effect is a verbal not-contrapositive proposition. Mathematical development demonstrates that allele/haplotype divergence over time can only occur if and only if we consider the evolution of only one individual in the species and ignore backward mutation ..." and "Under other but common biological cases, ancient asexuality may not result in allele/haplotype divergence, and allele/haplotype divergence may result from other biological features. The Meselson effect cannot thus be used to infer, interpret or predict genome evolution, which should be mentioned when used."

To Geppeto35 in regards to the citation:

As this is the biography page for Matthew Meselson, and not a page dedicated to the Meselson effect, I feel it is inappropriate to spend too much time discussing technical details of the Meselson effect. Further more, phrases such as “the Meselson effect is a verbal not-contrapositive proposition.” are unlikely to be meaningful to the average reader of an encyclopedia, and the deep philosophical analysis of the Meselson effect is best left in the primary literature. Additionally I feel I feel it would be giving this single citation undue weight to use verbiage such as “Mathematical development demonstrates” or “The Meselson effect cannot thus be used to infer, interpret or predict genome evolution . . .”. Can't we give the primary literature some time to work this claim out before declaring the Meselson effect dead in the article on Matthew Meselson?

And yes, full disclosure, I am relatively certain that the article in question draws its conclusions from an unreasonable mathematical model (though I did quickly realize that the citation did not deal with selfing as I had initially supposed). However, I don't oppose the inclusion of the citation on the basis of my own expertice, but rather on the basis of wikipedia policies that emphasis on the importance of secondary sources to interpret the research literature for us.

What's more, it is not clear to me that the authors of the paper fundamentally say that the Meselson effect does not occur, since mean F_IS is negative in all their simulations. When averaged across hundreds of millions of loci even very large variances are going to produce means very close to the theoretical expectation (as long as averaging is done properly). If there is some greater point to the paper that I have missed and you wish to highlight this fact in the article I encourage you to do so. For now I cannot see how the citation supports the sentence it is used to support in the article. I left in the rather negative wording for now, as I feel it reflects your reasons for including the citation and I don't wish to 'overrule' you, but I am inclined to remove the citation all together in the near future unless you can explain its relevance in some detail how you are using it.

LarryBoy79 (talk) 22:03, 3 November 2014 (UTC)

Concern about Newtwin's edits[edit]

Newtwin posted a version of this article which he/she summarized as “This is the official entry authorized by Dr. Meselson.” After this he has sent me a personal message saying that “Dr. Meselson requests that you do not make further edits to his page without his consent. You may contact him at Harvard University.” While I have no issues with the quality of the article at this time, and indeed Newtin did not revert the edits I made which prompted him to send me the strange request, I am concerned that Newtin feels entitled to a level of control over the article which is unseemly. Wikipedia advises that “You should also avoid writing about yourself or people you know in articles on other topics.” A version of a biography that is “official ... authorized” by the subject, and to which editing is discouraged by anyone other than the appointed representatives of the subject creates an distastefully strong connection between the subject and the article, in my opinion. Unfortunately I am strongly dis-interested in the biography itself (I have only edited the small sub section on a eponymous effect) or I would take the task of maintaining the biographical information upon myself, but I am wondering if an interested and active editor could take some notice of the article and work to maintain a modicum of independence between the article and Dr. Meselson. Again, I see no real fault with the article or any particular ways that it needs to be improved, but I dislike the idea that Dr. Meselson has an “officially” appointed editor who exercises some control over this article. LarryBoy79 (talk) 21:50, 3 November 2014 (UTC)

Recent spat of edits[edit]

Generally just condensed the lead of the article down a bit. I felt that throwing too much detail in about the Meselson-Stahl experiment was just confusing, although I don't really know if I like to summarize the entire body of his research as being on DNA replication and repair. Also, there is no mention of asexuality, aging, or rotifers. Will try to improve the lead to reflect the breadth of his research. LarryBoy79 (talk) 20:31, 4 November 2014 (UTC)