"Models of Biological Change: Implications of Three Studies of 'Lamarckian' Change"

G. A. Barker (In P. P. G. Bateson, et al., eds, Perspective in Ethology 10, Plenum Press), 1993

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Abstract: Several recent writers have challenged the conventional twentieth-century view of Darwinism and Lamarckism as mutually antithetical doctrines, and suggested that directed variation or the inheritance of acquired characteristics at one level of biological organization might result from selective processes acting at a lower level. The different interpretations of such cases, manifested in the resulting debate, reflect different ways of modeling the causal structure of the biological world, which are not in principle incomatible. The variety of developmental patterns among organisms, the role of retrotranscription and other mechanisms by whcih the genome may be modified, and teh possibility of casting evolutionary explanations in terms of porcesses occurring at various levels of biological organization, suggest that the rich variety of possible processes of biological change is best captured by using both Darwinian and Lamarckian models. The actual role of Darwinian and Lamarckian processes in evolution must then be determined empirically.