Article ID: CBB000933435

Weismann Rules! OK? Epigenetics and the Lamarckian Temptation (2007)


Abstract August Weismann rejected the inheritance of acquired characters on the grounds that changes to the soma cannot produce the kind of changes to the germ-plasm that would result in the altered character being transmitted to subsequent generations. His intended distinction, between germ-plasm and soma, was closer to the modern distinction between genotype and phenotype than to the modern distinction between germ cells and somatic cells. Recently, systems of epigenetic inheritance have been claimed to make possible the inheritance of acquired characters. I argue that the sense in which these claims are true does not challenge fundamental tenets of neo-Darwinism. Epigenetic inheritance expands the range of options available to genes but evolutionary adaptation remains the product of natural selection of `random' variation.

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Authors & Contributors
Churchill, Frederick B.
Dröscher, Ariane
Weismann, August
Risler, Helmut
Stamhuis, Ida H.
Mameli, Matteo
Journal of the History of Biology
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Filosofia e História da Biologia
Science and Education
Universitätsbibliothek Freiburg
Harvard University Press
MIT Press
Weismann, August
Vries, Hugo Marie de
Darwin, Charles Robert
Lysenko, Trofim Denisovich
Spencer, Herbert
Galton, Francis
Time Periods
19th century
20th century, early
20th century
21st century
17th century
20th century, late
United States
Moscow (Russia)

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