EXTRA! EXTRA! EXTRA! Porque alguns darwinistas não querem uma nova teoria geral da evolução

terça-feira, outubro 10, 2017

Why we don’t want another “Synthesis”

Arlin Stoltzfus ORCID ID profile

Biology Direct 201712:23

https://doi.org/10.1186/s13062-017-0194-1 © The Author(s) 2017 ReadCube 

Received: 27 July 2017 Accepted: 18 September 2017 Published: 2 October 2017


High-level debates in evolutionary biology often treat the Modern Synthesis as a framework of population genetics, or as an intellectual lineage with a changing distribution of beliefs. Unfortunately, these flexible notions, used to negotiate decades of innovations, are now thoroughly detached from their historical roots in the original Modern Synthesis (OMS), a falsifiable scientific theory. The OMS held that evolution can be adequately understood as a process of smooth adaptive change by shifting the frequencies of small-effect alleles at many loci simultaneously, without the direct involvement of new mutations. This shifting gene frequencies theory was designed to support a Darwinian view in which the course of evolution is governed by selection, and to exclude a mutation-driven view in which the timing and character of evolutionary change may reflect the timing and character of events of mutation. The OMS is not the foundation of current thinking, but a special case of a broader conception that includes (among other things) a mutation-driven view introduced by biochemists in the 1960s, and now widely invoked. This innovation is evident in mathematical models relating the rate of evolution directly to the rate of mutation, which emerged in 1969, and now represent a major branch of theory with many applications. In evo-devo, mutationist thinking is reflected by a concern for the “arrival of the fittest”. Though evolutionary biology is not governed by any master theory, and incorporates views excluded from the OMS, the recognition of these changes has been hindered by woolly conceptions of theories, and by historical accounts, common in the evolutionary literature, that misrepresent the disputes that defined the OMS.

Reviewers: This article was reviewed by W. Ford Doolittle, Eugene Koonin and J. Peter Gogarten.


Modern Synthesis Evolutionary theory Darwinism Synthesis Historiography Mutation-driven evolution

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