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« Weekly Roundup - Week Ending 1/24/10 | Main | The False Solace of Vilification »

January 25, 2010

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Rinalia

I don't think epigenetic theory dismisses entirely a genetic basis for evolution. I think it will show to be an addition to our wealth of knowledge on inheritance and environmental influences. At least I hope that is how it goes!

I'm looking forward to Shenk's book. I like his writing style a lot - very accessible.

Brent

Rinalia,

It certainly doesn't replace evolution -- or environmental factors. But it does show that environmental factors may have a lasting impression on us -- to the point they can even affect change on future generations. This would, theoretically, give us the ability to adapt to environmental changes faster than would be possible simply by genetic evolution alone (which, it seems, is much quicker than scientists first thought, but under natural conditions, is very slow because natural selection weeds out most mutations).

Rinalia

Absolutely agree. It makes a lot of sense, really. It gives individuals (and species) opportunities for both optimal survival and unfortunate demise depending on how they interact with the environment at a molecular level. Fascinating stuff!

Valerie

Great write up. Epigenetics certainly does not supersede or replace the genetic basis of evolution. It concerns the regulation of gene expression. It came as a bit of a surprise that patterns of gene regulation could be passed down from one generation to the next, resulting in environmental conditions having a very lasting effect. The Central Dogma (it is really called that, so named by Watson and Crick) has been that information flows in one direction only--from the genes out. Now we know that it is a bit more convoluted. Biology is complex. Who knew?

Valerie

Still, since the anti-pit bull camp doesn't seem willing to trouble themselves with scientifically valid information, I don't know that new scientific insights will change their minds.

Julie

Interesting. There are so many layers and facets of what makes an individual who he or she is, whether that he or she is human or canine or something else. Conversations about the complex interplay between genes and environment are never dull, for sure. Truly, there are so many components to it that the next time someone tells me that "pit bulls" are genetically this or that, I may just skip trying to explain it all and just say "It is never, ever that simple."

girlamal

"its not an opinion, its science" ? are you serious? is science not an opinion? does everyone really believe in everything "science" has to say without questioning? sounds like some type of religion to me folks..."its not an opinion..god said" lets try to be more critical people..i personally dont know any scientist, nor does anyone i know...i haveno idea what other motivations could be at work when this information is published..

Brent

It is fine for different scientists to disagree on something based on competing data. But it does seem sort of ridiculous to say "I don't believe it" without any insight or knowledge to the contrary.

Science isn't a religion. Religion, by it's nature relies on a good amount of faith in "knowing" what's out there without much for evidence. Science relies on evidence to "know".

It is true that science is often wrong and proven wrong over time. But they're right an awful lot of the time -- based on evidence, not faith.

PAMM - People Against Miscalculating Math

Further proof our public school system is failing us...

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