Recently, we noted an article in AAAS’s Science, according to which epigenetics is making biologists who “balk at suggestions that something other than changes in DNA sequences,” uncomfortable. In other words, it makes Darwin’s followers uncomfortable. Who else would either doubt it or care much? Remember, their natural selection mechanism that is supposed to do almost everything depends on the gene as the simple unit on which the miracle of natural selection works. Pennisi’s article is paywalled, as it happens, but here is the gist:
For 50 years, changes in an organism’s DNA sequence have been considered the sole currency of evolution. Epigenetic mechanisms—methylation and other chemical modi? cations that do not alter the sequence of DNA bases—can also influence a trait, by suppressing or promoting a gene’s activity. But those changes were thought to be too ephemeral to affect evolution. Although a few researchers have shown that epigenetic modifications can persist through several generations, critics would point out that these studies couldn’t rule out undiscovered genetic variation might really be in play. “The burden of proof is on the epigeneticist,” [Oliver] Bossdorf says.
Now, quantitative geneticist Frank Johannes of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands has tried to provide it…
Pennisi notes in closing that “And, [Christina] Richards adds, ‘people are really stubborn about accepting that that’s possible.’” Which is pretty much what was advertised and it certainly accords with our experience here.
Wonder why the article was paywalled.