Lamarckian Inheritance


Lamarckian inheritance requires the hereditary transmission of characters acquired by the organism in the course of its adult life, usually through the adoption of new habits in a new environment. Although widely accepted in the nineteenth century, it has been rejected by modern geneticists.

Keywords: Lamarckism; acquired characteristics; use inheritance; soft heredity


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Steele EJ, Lindley RA and Blanden RV (1998) Lamarck's Signature: How Retrogens are Changing the Natural Selection Paradigm. St Leonards, NSW: Allen and Unwin/Reading, MA: Prometheus Books.

Further Reading

Bocking S (1999) Alpheus Spring Packard and cave fauna in the evolution debate. Journal of the History of Biology 21: 425–456.

Cook GM (1999) Neo‐Lamarckian experimentalism in America: origins and consequences. Quarterly Review of Biology 74: 417–447.

Harwood J (1993) Styles of Scientific Thought: The German Genetics Community, 1900–1933. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Persell SM (1999) Neo‐Lamarckism in France, 1870–1920. Lewiston, NY: Mellen.

Pfeifer EJ (1965) The genesis of American neo‐Lamarckism. Isis 56: 156–167.

Rinard RG (1988) Neo‐Lamarckism and technique: Hans Spemann and the development of experimental embryology. Journal of the History of Biology 21: 95–188.

Soyfer VN (1994) Lysenko and the Tragedy of Soviet Science. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Willey B (1960) Darwin and Butler: Two Versions of Evolution. London, UK: Chatto and Windus.

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How to Cite close
Bowler, Peter J(Sep 2006) Lamarckian Inheritance. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0005877]