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Darwin's Pangenesis and the Lamarckian Inheritance of Acquired Characters.

Since the earliest days of evolutionary thought, the problem of the inheritance of acquired characters has been a central debate. Darwin accepted the inheritance of acquired characters as an established fact and gave many instances. His Pangenesis was more than anything else an attempt to provide a theory for its explanation. Over the past several decades, there has been increasing evidence for the inheritance of acquired habit and immunity, and for heritable changes induced by food and fertilizer, stress, chemicals, temperature, light and other environmental factors. Many studies also suggest that parental age has certain influences on the characters of offspring. The current explanations include environmentally induced DNA changes (mainly DNA rearrangements and DNA methylation), RNA-mediated inheritance, and horizontal gene transfer. These mechanistic explanations are consistent with Darwin's Pangenesis.

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