Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Findings challenge Darwinian theory


Did that lobster on your dinner plate inherit its big crusher claw…or did it evolve through need, without the help of genes?
Genetics aren’t the only triggers for the traits a species develops, according to findings from a University of Alberta professor. The research challenges the classical Darwinian theory of evolution as being the sole explanation for how new life forms arise.

In a paper published October 29 in the journal Science, Dr. Richard Palmer, a U of A professor of biological sciences, says studies of hundreds of species have shown that a creature’s environment can be just as key in creating differences, also known as variations. "Variations that do not initially have a genetic basis can still be important for evolution. They are 35 to 50 per cent as common as genetic variation, at least when it comes to the evolution of asymmetric forms" Dr. Palmer said. He was able to synthesize published evidence showing that the current ’genotype-precedes-phenotype’ theory of evolution only explains about half of the examples he studied.

He came to his conclusions after reviewing more than 200 research papers from around the world, including a study on asymmetry (the difference between the left and right sides of the body) that was conducted using lobsters. Baby lobsters are born with two same-sized claws, but somehow, only one of the claws transforms into a larger crusher claw as the lobster grows. "The genetic program that makes a crusher claw is triggered by one claw being used more than the other. But if one side isn’t stimulated enough, the program that makes a crusher claw never gets started. It’s a clear example of how environment in some sense causes difference in form," Dr. Palmer said.

Further, studies on many other plant and animal species with both right-sided and left-sided forms showed that if two of the same ’handedness’ were mated, half their offspring would be left-sided and half would be right-sided. "Genetics made no difference in the direction of asymmetry. It’s a trait strictly determined by environment. From an evolutionary perspective, this means form arises first and the genes follow."

These observations have some parallels with modern medical research, Palmer said. "You can’t say all diseases are gene-based. Consider cancer caused by asbestos exposure, or skin cancer. If you only study genetics, you would not learn much about environmentally-induced diseases."

Bev Betkowski | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'
16.03.2018 | Emory Health Sciences

nachricht Scientists map the portal to the cell's nucleus
16.03.2018 | Rockefeller University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>