Monday, August 21, 2006
Now Eric Richards, Ph.D., professor of biology at Washington University in St. Louis, writing in the May issue of Nature Reviews Genetics (Abstract), analyzes recent and past research in epigenetics and the history of evolution and proposes that epigenetics should be considered a form of soft inheritance, citing examples in both the plant and mammalian kingdoms.
In doing so, he evokes the pre-Darwinian evolutionist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829), a name that evolutionary biologists thought long ago left the stage, and Soviet agronomist T.D. Lysenko. Lamarck, and more recent neo-Lamarckian researchers, believed that the environment plays a key role in a species acquiring inherited characteristics that drive variation and evolution.
The full text of Richards' paper ("Inherited epigenetic variation - revisiting soft inheritance") is now available as a pdf file here.
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