ISBN: 9780262322676 | 472 pp. | March 2005

Evolution in Four Dimensions, Revised Edition

Genetic, Epigenetic, Behavioral, and Symbolic Variation in the History of Life
Overview

Ideas about heredity and evolution are undergoing a revolutionary change. New findings in molecular biology challenge the gene-centered version of Darwinian theory according to which adaptation occurs only through natural selection of chance DNA variations. In Evolution in Four Dimensions, Eva Jablonka and Marion Lamb argue that there is more to heredity than genes. They trace four "dimensions" in evolution -- four inheritance systems that play a role in evolution: genetic, epigenetic (or non-DNA cellular transmission of traits), behavioral, and symbolic (transmission through language and other forms of symbolic communication). These systems, they argue, can all provide variations on which natural selection can act. Evolution in Four Dimensions offers a richer, more complex view of evolution than the gene-based, one-dimensional view held by many today. The new synthesis advanced by Jablonka and Lamb makes clear that induced and acquired changes also play a role in evolution.After discussing each of the four inheritance systems in detail, Jablonka and Lamb "put Humpty Dumpty together again" by showing how all of these systems interact. They consider how each may have originated and guided evolutionary history and they discuss the social and philosophical implications of the four-dimensional view of evolution. Each chapter ends with a dialogue in which the authors engage the contrarieties of the fictional (and skeptical) "I.M.," or Ifcha Mistabra -- Aramaic for "the opposite conjecture" -- refining their arguments against I.M.'s vigorous counterarguments. The lucid and accessible text is accompanied by artist-physician Anna Zeligowski's lively drawings, which humorously and effectively illustrate the authors' points.

Table of Contents

  1. Preface to the Revised Edition
  2. Acknowledgments
  3. Prologue
  4. I. The First Dimension
  5. 1. The Transformations of Darwinism
  6. 2. From Genes to Characters
  7. 3. Genetic Variation: Blind, Directed, Interpretive?
  8. II. Three More Dimensions
  9. 4. The Epigenetic Inheritance Systems
  10. 5. The Behavioral Inheritance Systems
  11. 6. The Symbolic Inheritance Systems
  12. Between the Acts: An Interim Summary
  13. III. Putting Humpty Dumpty Together Again
  14. 7. Interacting Dimensions—Genes and Epigenetic Systems
  15. 8. Genes and Behavior, Genes and Language
  16. 9. Lamarckism Evolving: The Evolution of the Educated Guess
  17. 10. A Last Dialogue
  18. IV. After Nine Years
  19. 11. Developing Evolution
  20. Notes
  21. References
  22. Index