The modern theory of biological evolution: an expanded synthesis
Kutschera U, Niklas KJ.
Institut für Biologie, Universität Kassel,
34109 Kassel, Germany.
Naturwissenschaften. 2004 Jun;91(6):255-76.
ABSTRACTIn 1858, two naturalists, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, independently proposed natural selection as the basic mechanism responsible for the origin of new phenotypic variants and, ultimately, new species. A large body of evidence for this hypothesis was published in Darwin's Origin of Species one year later, the appearance of which provoked other leading scientists like August Weismann to adopt and amplify Darwin's perspective. Weismann's neo-Darwinian theory of evolution was further elaborated, most notably in a series of books by Theodosius Dobzhansky, Ernst Mayr, Julian Huxley and others. In this article we first summarize the history of life on Earth and provide recent evidence demonstrating that Darwin's dilemma (the apparent missing Precambrian record of life) has been resolved. Next, the historical development and structure of the "modern synthesis" is described within the context of the following topics: paleobiology and rates of evolution, mass extinctions and species selection, macroevolution and punctuated equilibrium, sexual reproduction and recombination, sexual selection and altruism, endosymbiosis and eukaryotic cell evolution, evolutionary developmental biology, phenotypic plasticity, epigenetic inheritance and molecular evolution, experimental bacterial evolution, and computer simulations (in silico evolution of digital organisms). In addition, we discuss the expansion of the modern synthesis, embracing all branches of scientific disciplines. It is concluded that the basic tenets of the synthetic theory have survived, but in modified form. These sub-theories require continued elaboration, particularly in light of molecular biology, to answer open-ended questions concerning the mechanisms of evolution in all five kingdoms of life.Hominins
Eugenics before Galton
The literature of eugenics
Germline genetic engineering
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis
A life without pain? Hedonists take note'
Francis Galton and contemporary eugenics
Gene therapy and performance enhancement
and further reading
The Good Drug Guide
The Abolitionist Project
The Hedonistic Imperative
The Reproductive Revolution
MDMA: Utopian Pharmacology
Critique of Huxley's Brave New World