Elliebelle100
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As lamaracks theory demontrates that over an organisms lifetime if they develop a new characteristic it will be passed to their offspring, surely genetic engineering proves this.
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username5064508
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Im not usually one to discuss the philosophy of science, but I'm intrigued by this one!

Perhaps I'm wrong, but I think that Lamarck's theory suggested a genetic basis for non-genetic changes.

For instance, the common example of the giraffe stretching its neck. The basis of this, as you probably know, was that giraffes had short necks, one of them stretched and their neck elongated, this was passed on to offspring. This is not only anatomically questionable but stretching the neck does not impact genes, so it is not passed on.

Similarly, the example of dyeing a hamster pink. Dyeing the hamster does not change its genes, so it will not give pink-furred offspring.

Based on this I would say that since genetic engineering does affect genetic information in the organism, it does not count as an example of Lamarckian inheritance.

However as we know now not everything is so binary. Maybe Lamarck was correct in a way, since right now almost anything can be explained away with epigenetics and similar newfound principles. It's very interesting, or at least I think so!
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Elliebelle100
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(Original post by HRobson_BMC)
Im not usually one to discuss the philosophy of science, but I'm intrigued by this one!

Perhaps I'm wrong, but I think that Lamarck's theory suggested a genetic basis for non-genetic changes.

For instance, the common example of the giraffe stretching its neck. The basis of this, as you probably know, was that giraffes had short necks, one of them stretched and their neck elongated, this was passed on to offspring. This is not only anatomically questionable but stretching the neck does not impact genes, so it is not passed on.

Similarly, the example of dyeing a hamster pink. Dyeing the hamster does not change its genes, so it will not give pink-furred offspring.

Based on this I would say that since genetic engineering does affect genetic information in the organism, it does not count as an example of Lamarckian inheritance.

However as we know now not everything is so binary. Maybe Lamarck was correct in a way, since right now almost anything can be explained away with epigenetics and similar newfound principles. It's very interesting, or at least I think so!
Thank you so much, this helped a lot!
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jk0266
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(Original post by Elliebelle100)
As lamaracks theory demontrates that over an organisms lifetime if they develop a new characteristic it will be passed to their offspring, surely genetic engineering proves this.
Lamarack's theory was in fact a hypothesis and is largely disproven by the theory of natural selection. This theory would only apply to changes in the world that could cause changes to the germ-line (sperm or egg cells), which would then be passed on to offspring produced from those modified sperm/egg cells - this does happen, and it's epigenetics.

In genetic engineering, often the modifications are made only to bacteria or other single celled organisms, which clone themselves by division. However, in the lab most modified cells don't actually get modified. Scientists find ways to get rid of the ones that haven't taken to the genetic modifcation and work with the others - so artificial selection happens here.

When thinking about genetically engineered mice this is more complicated. Mice are modified while they're still embryos, and the modified cells might turn into anything from skin cells to sperm/egg cells. The genetically engineered mice are then bred with each other and some will produce normal offspring whereas others will produce genetically modified offspring. These genetically modified offspring must have parents who can pass the mutation on. Again though, the scientist has artificially selected only the changed mice and most of them are just normal mice.

In a 3rd way of engineering, viruses can changed the genetic code in a cell - but, let's say they change the genetic code in a skin cell, that change won't affect your sperm/eggs so it won't be passed on to your offspring. (this is not actually ever used on humans by scientists but wild viruses can genetic changes by putting their genome into yours)
Last edited by jk0266; 10 months ago
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