Laurent Loison (Paris)

Lamarckism and Epigenetic Inheritance: Four Distinctions that Matter

12.12.2019 16:00 Uhr – 18:00 Uhr

wann: Donnerstag, 12. Dezember 2019, 16-18 Uhr

wo: Historicum, Schellingstr. 12, Raum K026

Vortrag im Rahmen des Oberseminars "Perspektiven der Wissenschaftsgeschichte"

History of science is often reduced to a descriptive and erudite discipline that should be decoupled from present-days issues within science. I am supporting an opposite view: history of science could have positive effects for science in the making. For instance, it can help scientists in disentangling conflated concepts. In this talk, I will try to show how history of biology is a helpful resource in order to clarify what is really at stake with epigenetic inheritance (i.e. possible modes of inheritance independent from the modification of the DNA sequence). New cases of epigenetic inheritance are regularly seen as examples of inheritance of acquired characters and positive references to Lamarck and Lamarckism are more and more frequent in the scientific literature, especially in connection with the issue of the need for an extended evolutionary synthesis. These several levels of conflation have made the debate on the evolutionary consequences of epigenetic inheritance especially confused. In order to rethink the debate on better grounds, I propose to start by making four distinctions.