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Challenging the Modern SynthesisAdaptation, Development, and Inheritance$
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Philippe Huneman and Denis Walsh

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199377176

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199377176.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 16 October 2021

Heredity and Evolutionary Theory

Heredity and Evolutionary Theory

(p.280) 10 Heredity and Evolutionary Theory
Challenging the Modern Synthesis

Tobias Uller

Heikki Helanterä

Oxford University Press

Heredity is a central concept in biology and one of the core principles needed for adaptive evolution. For most of the past 100 years, heredity has been defined and conceptualized in terms of transmission of genes. This is heuristically useful but imposes a certain structure on evolutionary theory and leaves out aspects of heredity that may be important to understand evolution. Emerging developmental perspectives on evolution suggests that alternative ways to represent heredity may prove useful. To this end, this chapter explains how evolutionary biologists treat heredity, conceptually and mathematically. It argues that treating heredity as an outcome of developmental processes not only makes it clearer how different mechanisms of inheritance contribute to evolution but also shows that inheritance cannot be treated as a static channel of transmission of information because it evolves as part of the process of adaptation.

Keywords:   heredity, inheritance, evolutionary theory, developmental systems theory, quantitative genetics, population genetics, signaling theory, information, adaptation

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