Do Gene Selectionist Approaches In Evolutionary Theory Entail Genetic Determinism?

1632 words - 7 pages

"...what answers we find satisfying will always depend on the questions we ask." (Rowland 2004: 11)Gene selectionist approaches in evolutionary theory entail genetic determinism. Gene selectionist approaches concerning the individual do not entail genetic determinism although genomic structure is highly influential on an individual. Moreover the popular doctrine and dogma of genetic determinism needs to be revised in order to lessen confusion and clarify what genetic determinism really is. One need only scrape the surface of evolutionary theory to see the enormous amount of information in regards to it and the equally gargantuan number of conflicting theories under its broad banner. Epigenesis may be beneficial in providing a broad new paradigm and creating synthesis between continually specializing disciplines. It provides solutions in study of the individual and contributes to a greater understanding of the contributing factors of genes in evolutionary theory.'A doctrine of genic selectionism is that natural selection is the sole mechanism of evolution.' (Dusek 1998). This is true, for what exists that is not a product of and subject to the laws of the natural world? One may talk of sexual selection, cultural conditioning and human choice. All of these are influences within the parameters of natural selection. It is clear that genes are heritable and contain information for creation, so genetic determinism is obviously apparent in the study of evolution. It is valid in the study of evolution because it would appear genes are the mode of transmission and demonstrate the effects of natural selection. Environment acts upon and alters genes; genes are passed on through generations according to natural selection. Many differing understandings of genetic determinism have passed through much literature. Currently the widely circulated concept of genetic determinism is as follows:1. Genes determine characters in a straightforward, additive way: one gene-one protein, and by implication, one character. Environmental influence, if it occurs, can be neatly sorted from the genetic.2. Genes and genomes are stable, and except for rare, random mutations, are passed on unchanged to the next generation.3. Genes and genomes cannot be changed directly in response to the environment.4. Acquired characters are not inherited, as germline genes are not influenced by the environment."- (Ho 2000)"The determinist says what outcome we get depends upon just what happens; the pre-determinist says the outcome we get is fixed, and cannot be changed by what happens." (Franklin 2001)Genetic determinism can provide clues to the past, help us understand the present, and maybe even see further ahead into potential futures. In the scope of evolutionary theory, not of the individual, genetic determinism must be present. Environment most certainly plays a determining role in natural selection, but it is through the genes that scientists are able to...

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