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Thread: Lamark and Lysenko were right!

  1. #1
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    Lamark and Lysenko were right!

    Don't ATM me!

    New Scientist, 7/12/13, p.10, reports work from Emory U. Atlanta Ga. Mice conditioned to expect electric shocks when they smelt cherry-blossom (Acetophenone) were bred to the first and second generations. Their offspring were also conditioned in the same way!

    The workers (Dias & Ressler) found that specific smell receptors (M71) were more plentiful in conditioned mice, and as the gene for M71 is known they were able to show epigenetic markers on that gene, in the first, second and third generations! See: http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/...l/nn.3594.html

    So Lamark and Lysenko and all the geneticists that attempted to show that aquired characteristics can be inherited and could lead to evoloution, need not have been drummed out of science after all! Epigenetics just gets weirder!

    JOhn

  2. #2
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    IIRC, this is not the first such an experiment to show such an effect.
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    IIRC, this is not the first such an experiment to show such an effect.
    Life is more complicated than we presumed, just like physics.

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    To the assertion that: Experience alters DNA, my reaction is currently "Yeah, sorta". My imperfect understanding of what happened was that some sort of "clamp" was put onto A's genetic material by too much stress in their life. This "thing" made its way onto the second generation's DNA. Its function is to alter the rate at which a particular gene is expressed. After a few generations, it falls off. It is not part of the permanent genetic material.

    Comments from those who understand it better than I?
    Last edited by billslugg; 2013-Dec-11 at 04:48 PM.

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    That is pretty close (in a highly non-technical way ).

    The "thing" is epigenetics, which change how the genes are expressed, rather than changing the DNA coding. The last I read, this has only been shown to affect one generation. So it is interesting to see that it can be longer lasting.

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    Also, gene expression, which is a spectrum, not simply on and off, is accomplished by other genes. Some genes code for proteins, some genes control expression of other genes, some do both. To confuse things there are many definitions of just what precisely a gene is. But they are all units of DNA. There is currently no known case of an adaptation that can be shown to be the result of "inheritance of aquired characterisitcs," or as a result of anything other than evolution by natural selection.

    Epigenetics is fascinating, very complex and it is vital to a continued improvement of our understanding of evolution, but it does not negate, replace or disprove any of the major components of modern evolutionary theory. Including adaptations as a result of changes in allele frequency within populations as a result of natural selection.

    It is similar (but not a perfect analogy of course) to how Einstein does not invalidate Newton. Actually I don't think I like that analogy. Epigenetics is an additional aspect of evolution, many of which have been added since Darwin's day, but not a fundemental new concept of the basic underlying principles of the phenomenon of evolution. Any posited new theory will have to explain what is already explained, and extremely well validated, by current modern evolutionary theory. We know with as much certainty as we know that there is not an invisible dragon in Elon Musk's garage that natural selection occurs and is responsible for a myriad of adaptations in living organisms.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrell View Post
    Also, gene expression, which is a spectrum, not simply on and off, is accomplished by other genes. Some genes code for proteins, some genes control expression of other genes, some do both. To confuse things there are many definitions of just what precisely a gene is. But they are all units of DNA. There is currently no known case of an adaptation that can be shown to be the result of "inheritance of aquired characterisitcs," or as a result of anything other than evolution by natural selection.

    Epigenetics is fascinating, very complex and it is vital to a continued improvement of our understanding of evolution, but it does not negate, replace or disprove any of the major components of modern evolutionary theory. Including adaptations as a result of changes in allele frequency within populations as a result of natural selection.

    It is similar (but not a perfect analogy of course) to how Einstein does not invalidate Newton. Actually I don't think I like that analogy. Epigenetics is an additional aspect of evolution, many of which have been added since Darwin's day, but not a fundemental new concept of the basic underlying principles of the phenomenon of evolution. Any posited new theory will have to explain what is already explained, and extremely well validated, by current modern evolutionary theory. We know with as much certainty as we know that there is not an invisible dragon in Elon Musk's garage that natural selection occurs and is responsible for a myriad of adaptations in living organisms.
    Can we use this to teach deer not to run out in front of cars?

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    May as well give it a shot. Please report back with results.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    Can we use this to teach deer not to run out in front of cars?
    I'm not sure. My initial response was going to be "no," because it would require a young deer to run in front of a car, get struck, and then have children who would remember the trauma of the experience. For one thing, I think many deer die in such collisions, and can't reproduce later. And also, cars may be just one of the things that hit them, so I wonder how many living deer actually have such an experience.
    As above, so below

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrell View Post
    There is currently no known case of an adaptation that can be shown to be the result of "inheritance of aquired characterisitcs," or as a result of anything other than evolution by natural selection.
    What would be very interesting (maybe it should be suggested to them) would be to breed the children and see if this acquired fear is inherited to a third generation. If it is, then it would be strong evidence for the inheritance of acquired characteristics.
    As above, so below

  11. #11
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    I work at a University with a strong genetics department. I am also a duck shooter. My friends and I would like to genetically engineer ducks so that their feathers fall out when they are shot.

    On a more serious note, I have just finished reading "Stalin and the Scientists" by Simon Ings which details the struggle in Soviet Genetics and the damage done by Lysenko, and, also, the positive role played by Beria, the head of Soviet security.

    As a teenager, I was "fed" a pamphlet called "Lysenko is right", which didn't stand my "clear thinking" classes analysis let alone any scientific scrutiny.

    I am NOT a biologist or a geneticist, but, as a teenager i read a heap of popular accounts of evolution.

    It always seemed to me that acquired hereditary mechanisms must exist, but, NOT to the extremes claimed by Lysenko.
    One of the comments in this thread seems to come from a professional.

    But, it would seem to me to be logical that any genetic change that mimics the random mutations that seemed to be assumed as the driver of evolution, would be as likely to be transmitted as any random mutation.
    But, it's rather important to look at Lysenko's claims, and, his total failure to produce evidence, and, the havoc his practices worked on Soviet agriculture and its consequences.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnD View Post
    So Lamark and Lysenko and all the geneticists that attempted to show that aquired characteristics can be inherited and could lead to evoloution, need not have been drummed out of science after all! Epigenetics just gets weirder!
    They were "drummed out" because of claims that they made that are still unsubstantiated, and probably also refusing to consider evidence for other points of view.

    Some of Alfred Wegener's claims about continental drift still look preposterous today. The ones that he could substantiate, survived, and influenced others, like Arthur Holmes.

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    Five years old, banned OP.

    Grant Hutchison

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