Genome complexity; epigenetics: Lamarck is back (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Friday, August 18, 2017, 15:38 (583 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Another essay on how important epigenetics is:

QUOTE: In another recent study, we examined evolution on the macro-evolutionary scale – speciation. One of the classic examples of speciation involves Darwin’s finches in the Galapagos Islands.

dhw: I am a convinced evolutionist, but I find this kind of vocabulary irritating because it glosses over the problem of the very word “speciation”. Darwin’s finches were variations, and the explanation for those variations is wonderfully logical. But it offers no explanation for the innovations necessary to make single cells develop into elephants, eagles, sharks and humans.

QUOTE: A unified theory of evolution should combine both neo-Lamarckian and neo-Darwinian aspects to expand our understanding of how environment impacts evolution.

dhw: I agree 100%, and the major question is what is the mechanism that enables organisms to respond to the environment not just by adaptation but also by innovation.

Yes, speciation is not explained. Epigenetics does not explain the big gaps in the fossil record.

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