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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Remember - one gene codes for one protein? Also. you ARE your genes? And all that?

Good. Now exercise your brain by forgetting all that.

Here Emma Young at New Scientist (09 July 2008) brings us up to date with a more plausible story:
No one is arguing that Lamarck got everything right, but over the past decade it has become increasingly clear that environmental factors, such as diet or stress, can have biological consequences that are transmitted to offspring without a single change to gene sequences taking place. In fact, some biologists are already starting to consider this process as routine. However, fully accepting the idea, provocatively dubbed the "new Lamarckism", would mean a radical rewrite of modern evolutionary theory. Not surprisingly, there are some who see that as heresy. "It means the demise of the selfish-gene theory," says Eva Jablonka at Tel Aviv University, Israel. "The whole discourse about heredity and evolution will change" (see " Rewriting Darwin and Dawkins?").
The demise of selfish gene theory is long overdue, of course.

I am a bit queasy about at least one aspect of this New Scientist article: An attempt to blame modern obesity rates on ancestral diets. Modern obesity is mainly due to lack of exercise. If the most exercise you ever get is moving the cursor around, you have one impressive index finger, second joint upward, but ... that's like about .2 percent of fitness.


Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy:

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