Friday, October 4, 2013

Non-genetic inheritance

Posted by: Machteld

Next week's lab meeting will be about non-genetic inheritance, since this is the topic of a workshop I will be attending (as will Jessica) this December. This is a good moment to start reading up on it, and since this is a broadly written paper on the topic, this might be a great introduction to all of you as well, so you might have some idea what Jessica and I will be working on during that workshop :).

Since it is published in an open access journal, I've linked the paper here, for everyone's convenience.

Non-genetic Inheritance in Evolutionary Theory: a Primer

By Tobias Uller and Heikki Helanterä

Evolutionary biology traditionally equates inheritance with transmission of genes from parents to offspring. However, recent literature calls for considering ‘non-genetic inheritance’ in evolutionary theory. These calls have met with substantial scepticism. What is more, they appear to have caused further confusion both with respect to what inheritance is and what types of inheritance mechanisms are evolutionarily consequential. Building on previous work, we make use of the Price Equation to outline a general discussion of how non-genetic inheritance can affect phenotypic change within populations, exemplified by epigenetic inheritance. This shows that integrating non-genetic inheritance in evolutionary theory will require specific attention to the developmental processes that shape the relationship between the fitness of parents and the phenotype of their offspring.

See you all on Tuesday!

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