Darwin’s fundamentalists have told us, we don’t know how many times, that genes are inherited via survival of the fittest (natural selection acting on random mutation of the parent’s inherited genome). So Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829) was dead wrong; genes can’t change in one’s lifetime and be inherited in that changed state. Now we read,
Gene mutations caused by a father’s lifestyle can be inherited by his children, even if those mutations occurred before conception. What’s more, these findings show that mutations in the germ-line are present in all cells of the children, including their own germ cells. This means that a father’s lifestyle has the potential to affect the DNA of multiple generations and not just his immediate offspring. These findings were published in the July 2013 issue of The FASEB Journal.
“We’ve known for a very long time that preventive care among expectant mothers is critical to the health and well-being of their children,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. “Now, we’re learning that fathers don’t get a free pass. How they take care of themselves — even before conception — affects the genetic makeup of their children, for better or worse.”
Some people have found themselves asking, “How is this to be distinguished from Lamarckism? Is the Lamarckian view (characteristics inherited during one’s lifetime are passed on to offspring, a Darwinism no-no) now being rehabilitated, as part of Darwinism’s decline?”
Meanwhile, photographer/philosopher Laszlo Bencze wrote to say,
Actually, though it is little acknowledged today, Darwin himself postulated such a Lamarckian scheme in Origin. He spoke of tiny little factors or agents which he called “gemmules” which supposedly existed in all cells of the body where they picked up certain signals about how hard an organ or tissue was being used and traveled to the germ cells with this information allowing the germ cells to include useful improvements in the next generation.
If this sounds highly speculative and in direct contradiction to Darwin’s reliance on natural selection of variations, well, it certainly is. Darwin liked to cover his bets. So it looks like Lamarckism never really went away and is now rising to prominence in a new and improved form.
Another thing that won’t really have gone away, if this flies, is specious Darwinian efforts to convince us that Darwin’s followers haven’t always dumped all over Lamarck whenever they got the chance.
Let the games begin.
Journal reference: O. Linschooten, N. Verhofstad, K. Gutzkow, A.-K. Olsen, C. Yauk, Y. Oligschlager, G. Brunborg, F. J. van Schooten, R. W. L. Godschalk. Paternal lifestyle as a potential source of germline mutations transmitted to offspring. The FASEB Journal, 2013; DOI: 10.1096/fj.13-227694