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The Evolutionary Gene and the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis

Lu, Qiaoying and Bourrat, Pierrick (2017) The Evolutionary Gene and the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Advocates of an ‘extended evolutionary synthesis’ have claimed that standard evolutionary theory fails to accommodate epigenetic inheritance. The opponents of the extended synthesis argue that the evidence for epigenetic inheritance causing adaptive evolution in nature is insufficient. We suggest that the ambiguity surrounding the conception of the gene represents a background semantic issue in the debate. Starting from Haig’s gene-selectionist framework and Griffiths and Neumann-Held’s notion of the evolutionary gene, we define senses of ‘gene’, ‘environment’ and ‘phenotype’ in a way that makes them consistent with gene-centric evolutionary theory. We argue that the evolutionary gene, when being materialized, need not be restricted to nucleic acids but can encompass other heritable units such as epialleles. If the evolutionary gene is understood more broadly, and the notions of environment and phenotype are defined accordingly, current evolutionary theory does not require a major conceptual change in order to incorporate the mechanisms of epigenetic inheritance.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Lu, Qiaoyingqiaoy.lu@gmail.com
Bourrat, Pierrickp.bourrat@gmail.com
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Depositing User: Mr Pierrick Bourrat
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2016 16:01
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2016 16:01
Item ID: 12708
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Date: 2017
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/12708

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