Lamarck’s comeback.

Lamarckian evolution might be real. How’s that for mind-blowing? Lamarck hypothesized, basically, that traits developed by a parent are passed down to offspring. If a giraffe stretches its neck to reach leaves high on a tree, its children will have longer necks. That was long ago discarded as goofy and improbable, particularly since there’s no mechanism by which that could be so. But, in science, everything’s always up for grabs, even the fundamentals, which is why two new studies are getting attention for showing that environmental effects can be inherited by offspring. How? Not by altering genes, but the expression of genes, basically by activating dormant genes, which is a heritable change. This is an exciting development.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

2 replies on “Lamarck’s comeback.”

  1. That’s certainly at odds with what I learned. Inherited traits flow from the genotype to the phenotype, not the other way around. Hmmmm.

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