Genome complexity: importance of epigenetics (Introduction)

by dhw, Saturday, April 01, 2017, 10:38 (870 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTES: "At the start, Lamarck might have been pilloried as a religious heretic, but in modern times, it is the orthodoxy of science – and especially Darwin’s untouchable theory of evolution – that has caused his name to be treated as a joke. Yet by the end of his career, Darwin himself had come around; even without the benefit of molecular biology, he could see that random changes were not fast enough to support his theory in full.”
"A unified theory of evolution should combine both neo-Lamarckian and neo-Darwinian aspects to expand our understanding of how environment impacts evolution. The contributions of Lamarck more than 200 years ago should not be discounted because of Darwin, but instead integrated to generate a more impactful and insightful theory. Likewise, genetics and epigenetics must not be seen as conflicting areas, but instead, integrated to provide a broader repertoire of molecular factors to explain how life is controlled.
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I couldn’t agree more. I did not know that Darwin had come round to Lamarckism. Good for him. It ties in neatly with his prophecy that fields of inquiry would be opened “on the direct action of external conditions”.

QUOTE: “Much as Lamarck suggested, changes in the environment literally alter our biology. And even in the absence of continued exposure, the altered biology, expressed as traits or in the form of disease, is transmitted from one generation to the next.”

Although of course far from conclusive, this supports the hypothesis that organisms have a mechanism that enables them not only to adapt to changing conditions, but also to exploit them by creating new “traits”: what I have called an autonomous inventive mechanism which, in the light of our discussion on the weaverbird, might also be called a designing intelligence.

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