News FocusGenetics

Was Lamarck Just a Little Bit Right?

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Science  07 Apr 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5463, pp. 38
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5463.38

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Although Jean-Baptiste Lamarck is remembered mostly for the discredited theory that acquired traits can be passed down to offspring, new findings in the field of epigenetics, the study of changes in genetic expression that are not linked to alterations in DNA sequences, are returning his name to the scientific literature. Although these new findings do not support Lamarck's overall concept, they raise the possibility that "epimutations," as they are called, could play a role in evolution.