In DepthEvolution

Templeton grant funds evolution rethink

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Science  22 Apr 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6284, pp. 394-395
DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6284.394

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Summary

For many evolutionary biologists, nothing gets their dander up faster than suggesting evolution is anything other than the process of natural selection, acting on random mutations. So some are uneasy that the John Templeton Foundation has awarded $8.7 million to U.K., Swedish, and U.S. researchers for experimental and theoretical work intended to put a revisionist view of evolution, the so-called extended evolutionary synthesis, on a sounder footing. Using a variety of plants, animals, and microbes, the researchers will study the possibility that organisms can influence their own evolution and that inheritance can take place through routes other than the genetic material. Critics are against evolutionary biologists accepting this money and argue that evolutionary theory already embraces the best of these ideas. But others are pleased as the money should help clarify the importance of different aspects of the extended synthesis.