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Epigenetics, Evolutionary biology


Evolutionary biology is currently experiencing an emergence of several research topics that transcend the boundaries of the Modern Synthesis, which was the last major conceptual integration in evolutionary biology [1]. The Modern Synthesis used the concepts of population genetics to integrate Mendelian genetics with evolution by natural selection [2]. Pigliucci [3, and citations within] identified several major areas of innovation that transcend the Modern Synthesis: epigenetics, evolvability, phenotypic plasticity, evolution on adaptive landscapes, evolutionary developmental biology, and systems biology. Integrating these new ideas with the Modern Synthesis will form a new conceptual framework of evolution, which they termed the Extended Synthesis, as it will extend, rather than refute, the Modern Synthesis [3]. This subject has been the focus of much recent work, and an excellent description is provided in the book Evolution—The Extended Synthesis [2].


Copyright © 2012 AaronW. Schrey et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Schrey, A.W., C.L. Richards, V. Meller, V. Sollars & D.M. Ruden. 2012. The Role of Epigenetics in Evolution: The Extended Synthesis. Genetics Research International 2012, Article ID 286164. doi:10.1155/2012/286164