Evolution beyond Darwin
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The extended evolutionary synthesis: its structure, assumptions and predictions

The extended evolutionary synthesis: its structure, assumptions and predictions | Evolution beyond Darwin | Scoop.it
Scientific activities take place within the structured sets of ideas and assumptions that define a field and its practices. The conceptual framework of evolutionary biology emerged with the Modern Synthesis in the early twentieth century and has since expanded into a highly successful research program to explore the processes of diversification and adaptation. Nonetheless, the ability of that framework satisfactorily to accommodate the rapid advances in developmental biology, genomics and ecology has been questioned. We review some of these arguments, focusing on literatures (evo-devo, developmental plasticity, inclusive inheritance and niche construction) whose implications for evolution can be interpreted in two ways—one that preserves the internal structure of contemporary evolutionary theory and one that points towards an alternative conceptual framework. The latter, which we label the ‘extended evolutionary synthesis' (EES), retains the fundaments of evolutionary theory, but differs in its emphasis on the role of constructive processes in development and evolution, and reciprocal portrayals of causation. In the EES, developmental processes, operating through developmental bias, inclusive inheritance and niche construction, share responsibility for the direction and rate of evolution, the origin of character variation and organism–environment complementarity. We spell out the structure, core assumptions and novel predictions of the EES, and show how it can be deployed to stimulate and advance research in those fields that study or use evolutionary biology.
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Within evolutionary biology, development has been traditionally viewed as under the direction of a genetic program. While the terminology of contemporary biologists is typically more nuanced, Moczek [109] shows that genetic ‘blueprint’, ‘program’ or ‘instructions' metaphors remain widespread in evolutionary biology texts. By contrast, the EES regards the genome as a sub-system of the cell designed by evolution to sense and respond to the signals that impinge on it [8]. Organisms are not built from genetic ‘instructions’ alone, but rather self-assemble using a broad variety of inter-dependent resources. Even where there is a history of selection for plasticity, the constructive development perspective entails that prior selection underdetermines the phenotypic response to the environment.
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Why it's time to lay the selfish gene to rest – David Dobbs – Aeon

Why it's time to lay the selfish gene to rest – David Dobbs – Aeon | Evolution beyond Darwin | Scoop.it
The selfish gene is one of the most successful science metaphors ever invented. Unfortunately it’s wrong
Junaid Akhtar's insight:

simplistic != scientific

 

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Physiology is rocking the foundations of evolutionary biology

Physiology is rocking the foundations of evolutionary biology | Evolution beyond Darwin | Scoop.it
The 'Modern Synthesis' (Neo-Darwinism) is a mid-twentieth century gene-centric view of evolution, based on random mutations accumulating to produce gradual change through natural selection.
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Evolution picks up hitchhikers

Evolution picks up hitchhikers | Evolution beyond Darwin | Scoop.it
In a twist on 'survival of the fittest,' researchers have discovered that evolution is driven not by a single beneficial mutation but rather by a group of mutations, including ones called 'genetic hitchhikers' that are simply along for the ride.
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"The finding goes against the traditional view of evolution being determined by individual mutations that provide a large fitness advantage by themselves," Desai said. "We found that small groups—which we call cohorts—of mutations were associated with increased survival. No single mutation is driving adaptation. The whole group, which includes hitchhikers, drives adaptation together."

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Lamarck and the Missing Lnc | The Scientist Magazine®

Lamarck and the Missing Lnc | The Scientist Magazine® | Evolution beyond Darwin | Scoop.it
Epigenetic changes accrued over an organism’s lifetime may leave a permanent heritable mark on the genome, through the help of long noncoding RNAs.
Junaid Akhtar's insight:

Another possible blow to the central dogma of biology... in the making.

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Essay - Darwinism Must Die So That Evolution May Live - NYTimes.com

Equating evolution with Charles Darwin ignores 150 years of discoveries, including most of what scientists understand about evolution.
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Letter from Lamarck

I got this letter today from a systems biologist, Dr. Denis Noble of Oxford. It’s a made up letter, but it makes a very relevant point, regarding the similarity between Darwin and Lamarck’s ideas, and how Lamarck has been given such a bad press. Some references might come as a shock to a few neo-Darwinists!

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The Biologists Who Want to Overhaul Evolution

The Biologists Who Want to Overhaul Evolution | Evolution beyond Darwin | Scoop.it
A half-century’s worth of scientific discoveries since the last major update to evolutionary theory has some researchers pushing for a paradigm shift.
Junaid Akhtar's insight:
“This is likely the first of many, many meetings,” Laland told me. In September, a consortium of scientists in Europe and the United States received $11 million in funding (including $8 million from the John Templeton Foundation) to run 22 studies on the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis.
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Putting Peirce’s Theory to the Test: Peircean Evolutionary Algorithms

Putting Peirce’s Theory to the Test: Peircean Evolutionary Algorithms | Evolution beyond Darwin | Scoop.it
Putting Peirce’s Theory to the Test: Peircean Evolutionary Algorithms
Junaid Akhtar's insight:

An alternative theory beyond modern synthesis

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Context crucial when it comes to mutations in genetic evolution, study reports

Context crucial when it comes to mutations in genetic evolution, study reports | Evolution beyond Darwin | Scoop.it
With mutations, it turns out that context can be everything in determining whether or not they are beneficial to their evolutionary fate.
Junaid Akhtar's insight:
whether a given mutation is good or bad is often determined by other mutations associated with it. In other words, genetic evolution is context-dependent.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-06-context-crucial-mutations-genetic-evolution.html#jCp

 

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ScienceDirect.com - Information Sciences - A framework for evolutionary algorithms based on Charles Sanders Peirce’s evolutionary semiotics

ScienceDirect.com - Information Sciences - A framework for evolutionary algorithms based on Charles Sanders Peirce’s evolutionary semiotics | Evolution beyond Darwin | Scoop.it
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Boston Review: Is Darwin in the Details? A Debate

The recent reviews in your columns of books by Dennett, Dawkins, and Behe are testimony to the unflagging interest in controversies about evolution. Although such purists as Dennett and Dawkins repeatedly assert that the scientific issues surrounding evolution are basically solved by conventional neo-Darwinism, the ongoing public fascination reveals a deeper wisdom. There are far more unresolved questions than answers about evolutionary processes, and contemporary science continues to provide us with new conceptual possibilities.

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Evolutionary developments beyond Darwinian assumptions

Found a great piece, titled Darwin’s Legacy written by Nathalie Gontier that summarizes neatly the development of ideas that challenge and go beyond the simplistic Darwinian/neo-Darwinian assumpyions

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