The main thing we’re learning these days is that epigenetics is much more important than we used to think. Which means that purely Darwinian evolution must be much less so.
The memory only lasted about five generations but the fact that it happens at all is significant. … It might help in understanding why many families seem to replay “addiction tapes” into the third and fourth generation.
Talbott: Not that the gene sequences are themselves mutated in the usual sense. Rather, the researchers found that various epigenetic modifications in the hippocampus alter the way the genes work (Weaver et al. 2004).
If this trait turns out to be widespread, it may help explain some puzzling aspects of animal behavior: specifically, how animals that are definitely not able to learn much individually appear to know things.
If we accumulate precise information as to the method of epigenetic transmission, we will have the material for a serious theory of epigenetics in evolution. That is how Darwinism fades. Not by knowing less about evolution but by knowing more.
It had to happen: Someone making epigenetics stand in for the selfish gene, an all-purpose gene-splain: If epigenetic research utilizing these new technologies will successfully shed some light in disease prevention, diagnosis, and therapy, then the research can expand to study epigenetics related to human behavior and moods. Aggression, violence, adultery, sexual preferences, risk-taking, happiness, […]
From ScienceDaily: For many years, it was thought that sperm do not retain any histone packaging and therefore could not transmit histone-based epigenetic information to offspring. Recent studies, however, have shown that about 10 percent of histone packaging is retained in both human and mouse sperm. “Furthermore, where the chromosomes retain histone packaging of DNA […]
In a study of mice forced to inhale large doses of nicotine carried large epigenetics signatures that affected their offspring: The result might explain why the experiments also found the male mice’s offspring—and grandoffspring—exhibited abnormal behavior and learning impairments. “Until now, much attention had been focused on the effects of maternal nicotine exposure on their […]
Remember old-fashioned, unalterable DNA? It was interesting stuff. So now this: “A study of chemical tags on histone proteins hints at how the same genome can yield very different animals:” The bee genome has a superpower. Not only can the exact same DNA sequence yield three types of insect—worker, drone, and queen—that look and behave very […]
From ScienceDaily: Two broad findings have been seen in memory reconsolidation, which is the retrieval and strengthening of a recent memory. The first broad finding is that, during memory reconsolidation, changes in translational control — the process of forming new proteins from activated genes — occur in areas of the brain related to memory formation. […]
Says biologist Peter Ward, because epigenetics changes can account for life forms that have been classified as different species: More and more, biologists are discovering that organisms thought to be different species are, in fact, but one. A recent example is that the formerly accepted two species of giant North American mammoths (the Columbian mammoth […]
John Hawks is an anthropologist we’ve often noted here. In his review of palaeobiologist Peter Ward’s LaMarck’s Revenge: How Epigenetics Is Revolutionizing Our Understanding of Evolution’s Past and Present (“Epigenetics upends natural selection and genetic mutation as the sole engines of evolution, and offers startling insights into our future heritable traits.”), Hawks has this to […]
David Quammen, author of The Tangled Tree:A Radical New History of Life, a biography of Darwin skeptic Carl Woese, who discovered the Archaea, offers a long reflection at the New York Times on how biology is moving away from Darwinism: Woese was a rebel researcher, obscure but ingenious, crotchety, driven. He had his Warholian 15 […]
From Cassandra Willyard at Nature: Since 2000, estimates have ranged from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands. The latest attempt to plug that gap uses data from hundreds of human tissue samples and was posted on the BioRxiv preprint server on 29 May1. It includes almost 5,000 genes that haven’t previously been spotted — […]
A reader asks about resources for non-Darwinian evolution theory and this might be a good time to recognize Peter Saunders and Mae-Wan Ho, and their lifetime study of epigenetics: Abstract: Description: Ever since Darwin, there have been challenges to the claim that the natural selection of small random variations is a sufficient explanation of evolution. […]