Evolution in Four Dimensions: Genetic, Epigenetic, Behavioral, and Symbolic Variation in the History of Life (Life & Mind: Philosophical Issues in Biology & Psychology) Hardcover – 22 Apr 2005
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"An individual's personal experience can influence the characteristics of his or her offspring. Some of the ways in which this happens would have seemed heretical in the past. Eva Jablonka and Marion Lamb's stimulating new book successfully challenges some of the old orthodoxies. I recommend it warmly to anybody with a serious interest in developmental and evolutionary biology."--Sir Patrick Bateson, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, author of "Design for a Life: How Behavior and Personality Develop"
About the Author
Eva Jablonka is Professor at the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas at Tel Aviv University. Marion J. Lamb was Senior Lecturer at Birkbeck College, University of London, before her retirement. Jablonka and Lamb have collaborated on a number of journal articles and books, including Epigenetic Inheritance and Evolution (1995).
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Top Customer Reviews
I was particularly impressed that the authors generously devote a lot of space to the arguments of their opponents, in the form of a series of dialogues between the authors and an imaginary proponent of conventional gene-centred evolution. These dialogues are in my view the best part of the book, and are even amusing at times (quite a big achievement for a science book!) Finally, the authors do what many writers should do but don't, which is to bring up holes in their theory and then suggest research which could plug these gaps. They even find some time to discuss the social implications of a "four-dimensional" approach to evolution.
If you want a book about the future of evolutionary theory that's evenhanded but still puts forward interesting new ideas, I highly recommend this book.
Thesis: Jablonka and Lambs thesis is that evolution is taking place in four distinct areas: genetic, epigenetic, behavioral and symbolic. They refute the standard dogma, that evolution is only possible on stochastic changes of the gene. The picture is a lot more complex as not only the phenotypes of nature have evolved but also the mechanisms that produce them.
The way the modern synthesis came into place needs to be looked as under a historical perspective. The idea of evolution was certainly in the air during the late 19th century. Unfortunately, no one including Darwin had a clear idea about how the mechanisms work. Instrumental in paving the way for the modern dogma was Weissman, who categorically denied an influence of the phenotype to the genotype. At the turn of the century Mendel hit the scene and it was clear that there must be something like a double stranded gene. During 1952 Crick and Watson discovered the double helix structure of the DNA. Furthermore it was discovered that radiation can change DNA. Hence it was assumed that all change leading to changes in the DNA and phenotype are stochastic events that are then selected by nature.
However, it was long understood that epigenetic mechanisms are at work in the forming of embryos. During embryo formation all cells have got the same DNA. Yet proteins formed are completely different during the formation of the embryo - otherwise it would be impossible to have a structured organism forming. The basic questions that was not asked - if these mechanisms are at work for the formation of embryos in any vertebrate and other multi cell organisms - why should they not be used by nature to change an organism over several generations and adapt to volatile environment?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
When I did my undergraduate degree, the "Modern Synthesis" was still the undisputed core of evolutionary theory; my standard text was by Dobzhansky et al, and "The... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Tarkus
read"the triple helix"by lewontin.no need to dig the tomb of lamarkism to refute genocentrism.full stop.Published 11 months ago by ahmed shawky