There are a handful of examples showing that environmentally-induced changes can be passed from one generation to the next. In nearly all of these examples, the changes disappear after one or two generations, so they couldn’t effect permanent evolutionary change.
Adaptive changes in an organism — or any change that has been fixed in a species — rest on inheritance that is based on changes in the DNA.
One often hears the suggestion that the neo-Darwinian view of evolution is on the skids, and that that view will be completely changed—if not overturned—by new biological ideas like modularity, genetic assimilation, evolvability, and epigenetics. Epigenetics in particular (I’ll define it in a moment) has been especially touted as a concept that will revolutionize evolutionary biology.
Call me an old fogey, but I think the idea of epigenetics as a Darwin-destroyer is completely bogus. Although certain discoveries in that area are interesting, and have certainly expanded our notion about how genes work, there is not the slightest evidence that the findings of epigenetics will dispel the main ideas of neo-Darwinism, which include the ideas of evolutionary change via natural selection and genetic drift, the randomness of mutations, the ideas of speciation and common descent, and the gene-centered view of evolution. I’ve explained my views on epigenetics as a revolution in…
View original post 1,802 more words