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Epigenetics: Retiring hoary Darwinian certainties

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methylated DNA molecule/Christoph Bock/CeMM

Whether anyone admits it or not.

From Jef Akst at The Scientist on the recent appearance of many papers on epigenetics:

Last week (November 17), the International Human Epigenome Consortium (IHEC) published 41 papers in Cell Press journals and other high-impact publications. IHEC aims to provide researchers with a comprehensive epigenomic analysis of healthy and abnormal cells, and the new studies constitute major strides toward that goal.

“The number of papers and variety of topics addressed by this creative team of scientists from around the globe not only reflects the dynamic nature of this consortium, but is also evidence of the great strength that comes from bringing together complementary expertise, with the potential for far greater impact than an equivalent number of individual projects,” Eric Marcotte of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and chair of the IHEC executive committee said in the McGill release. More.

For sure. Epigenetics is one of the new areas of evolution research that make nonsense of hoary Darwinian certainties.

The fact that life forms can acquire genes during their lifetime and pass them on to their descendants obviates vast seas of speculation about how the life forms inherited genes that make them “more fit.”

The genes may or may not make those life forms more fit (in their specific environment). But they don’t cause their extinction either—and they were not inherited at all.

To talk about evolution honestly today means steering clear of textbook Darwin.

See also: Comprehensive human epigenome map completed

and

Epigenetic change: Lamarck, wake up, you’re wanted in the conference room!

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2 Replies to “Epigenetics: Retiring hoary Darwinian certainties

  1. 1
    wd400 says:

    The fact that life forms can acquire genes during their lifetime and pass them on to their descendants obviates vast seas of speculation about how the life forms inherited genes that make them “more fit.”

    I’m sorry, what do you think epigenetics means?

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: Why are plant leaves green?

    Team combines quantum physics and photosynthesis to make discovery that could lead to highly efficient solar cells – November 30, 2016
    Excerpt: Nathan Gabor is focused on experimental condensed matter physics, and uses light to probe the fundamental laws of quantum mechanics. But, he got interested in photosynthesis when a question popped into his head in 2010: Why are plants green? He soon discovered that no one really knows.,,,
    The goal of the UC Riverside teams was to design the simplest photocell that matches the amount of solar power from the sun as close as possible to the average power demand and to suppress energy fluctuations to avoid the accumulation of excess energy.
    The researchers compared the two simplest quantum mechanical photocell systems: one in which the photocell absorbed only a single color of light, and the other in which the photocell absorbed two colors. They found that by simply incorporating two photon-absorbing channels, rather than only one, the regulation of energy flow emerges naturally within the photocell.
    The basic operating principle is that one channel absorbs at a wavelength for which the average input power is high, while the other absorbs at low power. The photocell switches between high and low power to convert varying levels of solar power into a steady-state output.
    When Gabor’s team applied these simple models to the measured solar spectrum on Earth’s surface, they discovered that the absorption of green light, the most radiant portion of the solar power spectrum per unit wavelength, provides no regulatory benefit and should therefore be avoided. They systematically optimized the photocell parameters to reduce solar energy fluctuations, and found that the absorption spectrum looks nearly identical to the absorption spectrum observed in photosynthetic green plants.
    The findings led the researchers to propose that natural regulation of energy they found in the quantum heat engine photocell may play a critical role in the photosynthesis in plants, perhaps explaining the predominance of green plants on Earth.
    http://phys.org/news/2016-11-t.....hesis.html

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