Biology is extremely diverse in its methodologies, concepts, theories, and goals. It is also developing rapidly and revealing deeper complexities at almost every level of organic organization. For these and other reasons, biology is becoming increasingly specialized and fragmented. Is there a remedy for this state of affairs? Are there historical or philosophical resources to help? Can biologists communicate more effectively and establish a new, truly all-inclusive modern synthesis? Toward answering these questions, we discuss the need for the specialist and the generalist in the biological sciences and argue that these two roles are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, although comparatively rare, the specialist—generalist is illustrated by the achievements of Charles Darwin and Louis Pasteur, among others. We also discuss the crosscutting science concepts identified by the National Academy of Sciences Board of Education, particularly in the context of teaching an integrated and specialized biology.
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