Match!

Lamarck, Evolution, and the Inheritance of Acquired Characters

Published on Aug 1, 2013in Genetics3.564
· DOI :10.1534/genetics.113.151852
Richard W. Burkhardt7
Estimated H-index: 7
(UIUC: University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign)
Abstract
Scientists are not always remembered for the ideas they cherished most. In the case of the French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, his name since the end of the nineteenth century has been tightly linked to the idea of the inheritance of acquired characters. This was indeed an idea that he endorsed, but he did not claim it as his own nor did he give it much thought. He took pride instead in advancing the ideas that (1) nature produced successively all the different forms of life on earth, and (2) environmentally induced behavioral changes lead the way in species change. This article surveys Lamarck’s ideas about organic change, identifies several ironies with respect to how his name is commonly remembered, and suggests that some historical justice might be done by using the adjective “Lamarckian” to denote something more (or other) than a belief in the inheritance of acquired characters.
  • References (20)
  • Citations (47)
📖 Papers frequently viewed together
617 Citations
2011
107 Citations
184 Citations
78% of Scinapse members use related papers. After signing in, all features are FREE.
References20
Newest
#1Charles DarwinH-Index: 66
Charles Darwin's seminal formulation of the theory of evolution, "On the Origin of Species" continues to be as controversial today as when it was first published. This "Penguin Classics" edition contains an introduction and notes by William Bynum, and features a cover designed by Damien Hirst. Written for a general readership, "On the Origin of Species" sold out on the day of its publication and has remained in print ever since. Instantly and persistently controversial, the concept of natural se...
6,111 Citations
#1Staffan Müller-Wille (MPG: Max Planck Society)H-Index: 14
#2Hans-Jörg Rheinberger (MPG: Max Planck Society)H-Index: 31
It was only around 1800 that heredity began to enter debates among physicians, breeders, and naturalists. Soon thereafter it evolved into one of the most fundamental concepts of biology. Here Staffan Muller-Wille and Hans-Jorg Rheinberger offer a succinct cultural history of the scientific concept of heredity. They outline the dramatic changes the idea has undergone since the early modern period and describe the political and technological developments that brought about these changes. Muller-Wi...
81 Citations
#1Snait B. GissisH-Index: 2
#2Eva JablonkaH-Index: 37
Last. Anna ZeligowskiH-Index: 3
view all 3 authors...
107 CitationsSource
4 CitationsSource
ABSTRACT French naturalists at the Museum Nationale d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris in the early nineteenth century recognized that their individual and collective successes were intimately linked to questions of power over specimens. France’s strength abroad affected the growth of the museum’s collections. At the museum, preserving, naming, classifying, displaying, interpreting, and otherwise deploying specimens went hand in hand with promoting scientific theories, advancing scientific careers, a...
10 CitationsSource
#1Jean GayonH-Index: 15
7 Citations
#1Ej BrowneH-Index: 1
156 Citations
#1Edna LongleyH-Index: 5
48 Citations
#1Pietro CorsiH-Index: 8
66 Citations
Abstract Study of more than 200 species suggests that the anatomical differences among birds are as big as those among other vertebrates of comparable taxonomic rank. The result is notable because, for more than 100 years, many biologists have believed that birds are more uniform anatomically than other classes of vertebrates. Furthermore, assessment of biochemical and geological evidence suggests that the time scale for bird evolution could be quite short. Hence, birds may share with placental ...
307 CitationsSource
Cited By47
Newest
#1Oleg N. Tikhodeyev (SPbU: Saint Petersburg State University)H-Index: 3
Abstract Inheritance of acquired characteristics (IAC) is a well-documented phenomenon occurring both in eukaryotes and prokaryotes. However, it is not included in current biological theories, and the risks of IAC induction are not assessed by genetic toxicology. Furthermore, different kinds of IAC (transgenerational and intergenerational inheritance, genotrophic changes, dauermodifications, vernalization, and some others) are traditionally considered in isolation, thus impeding the development ...
2 CitationsSource
In the nineteenth century, farmers, doctors, and the wider public shared a family of questions and anxieties concerning heredity. Questions over whether injuries, mutilations, and bad habits could be transmitted to offspring had existed for centuries, but found renewed urgency in the popular and practical scientific press from the 1820s onwards. Sometimes referred to as “Lamarckism” or “the inheritance of acquired characteristics,” the potential for transmitting both desirable and disastrous tra...
1 CitationsSource
#1Mark A A Minow (U of G: University of Guelph)H-Index: 3
#2Joseph Colasanti (U of G: University of Guelph)H-Index: 17
Epigenetic changes influence gene expression and contribute to the modulation of biological processes in response to the environment. Transgenerational epigenetic changes in gene expression have be...
Source
#1Adam S. Wilkins (Humboldt University of Berlin)H-Index: 2
: The question of whether "developmental bias" can influence evolution is still controversial, despite much circumstantial evidence and a good theoretical argument. Here, I will argue that the domestication of mammalian species, which took place independently more than two dozen times, provides a particularly convincing example of developmental bias in evolution. The singular finding that underlies this claim is the repeated occurrence in domesticated mammals of a set of distinctive traits, none...
7 CitationsSource
Abstract A fundamental question in evolutionary biology is how heritable variability originates. In Darwinian evolution a central focus was placed on the thinking that random variations are the material basis for the action of natural selection. Although randomness in Darwinian evolution can be interpreted from different angles, here I will focus on the assumption of equiprobability of mutations. I have reviewed the literature regarding epigenetic mechanisms causing biased genetic variability. A...
2 CitationsSource
#1V. Gowri (NUS: National University of Singapore)
#2Emilie Dion (NUS: National University of Singapore)H-Index: 2
Last. Antónia Monteiro (Yale University)H-Index: 32
view all 5 authors...
Many phytophagous insects have strong preferences for their host plants, which they recognize via odors, making it unclear how novel host preferences develop in the course of insect diversification. Insects may learn to prefer new host plants via exposure to their odors and pass this learned preference to their offspring. We tested this hypothesis by examining larval odor preferences before and after feeding them with leaves coated with control and novel odors and by examining odor preferences a...
Source
#1Kathleen E. Metz (University of California, Berkeley)H-Index: 8
#2Amy Cardace (Cornell University)
Last. Mark Wilson (University of California, Berkeley)H-Index: 40
view all 8 authors...
We investigated second and third graders’ capacity to understand microevolution, given a learning progression leveraging intuitions to build more adequate explanations, problematizing core ideas wi...
Source
The interaction between phenotypic plasticity, e.g. learning, and evolution is an important topic both in Evolutionary Biology and Machine Learning. The evolution of learning is commonly studied in Evolutionary Biology, while the use of an evolutionary process to improve learning is of interest to the field of Machine Learning. This paper takes a different point of view by studying the effect of learning on the evolutionary process, the so-called Baldwin effect. A well-studied result in the lite...
Source
The fundamental conflicts in Western literature—person vs. nature and person vs. person—shape protagonists into more-evolved characters by the ends of their stories. This is no less true in biological evolution, where the environment and competing organisms shape a species’ form and behavior over vast time scales, and thus its likelihood of adaptation and survival. Specific examples of variation and selection are relatively easy to come by in the natural or laboratory worlds. However, what has b...
3 CitationsSource
Lamarck realized life had evolved from simple to more complex forms, due to adaptation to a changing environment over time. Though he was wrong in many details, he got the overall picture right. Thus, he can be seen as the first evolutionary ecologist, connecting evolutionary change in organisms to their environment.
2 CitationsSource