The extended evolutionary synthesis and the role of soft inheritance in evolution

Dickins, Thomas E. and Rahman, Qazi (2012) The extended evolutionary synthesis and the role of soft inheritance in evolution. Proceedings B: Biological Sciences, 279 (1740). pp. 2913-2921. ISSN 0962-8452

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In recent years, a number of researchers have advocated extending the modern synthesis in evolutionary biology. One of the core arguments made in favour of an extension comes from work on soft inheritance systems, including transgenerational epigenetic effects, cultural transmission and niche construction. In this study, we outline this claim and then take issue with it. We argue that the focus on soft inheritance has led to a conflation of proximate and ultimate causation, which has in turn obscured key questions about biological organization and calibration across the life span to maximize average lifetime inclusive fitness. We illustrate this by presenting hypotheses that we believe incorporate the core phenomena of soft inheritance and will aid in understanding them.

Item Type:Article
Keywords (uncontrolled):Soft inheritance, Extended evolutionary synthesis, Epigenetic inheritance, Proximate and ultimate causation
Research Areas:A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology > Behavioural Biology group
A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
ID Code:9443
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Deposited On:05 Nov 2012 14:52
Last Modified:15 Mar 2015 03:05

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