acquired characters


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acquired characters

characteristics of an organism which, according to Lamarck (see LAMARCKISM become well developed through use or through environmental influences during an organism's lifetime, and which are inherited by its progeny. However, no clear experimental evidence has yet been found to support the theory. Current opinion is that the environment does play a large part in evolution, though only through NATURAL SELECTION.
References in periodicals archive ?
Not all acquired characters are necessarily adaptive, but like random (nondirectional, nonteleological) genetic mutants, only heritable adaptive traits are likely to persist over many generations in a population of organisms through natural selection.
French naturalist Jean Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829) revolutionized the study of lower invertebrates, but he is best known today for popularizing the ancient theory (Plato discussed it) of the inheritance of acquired characters in his 1809 book Zoological Philosophy.
Most biology texts villify Lamarck's concept of "inheritance of acquired characters" and leave the impression that all acquired characters are never transmitted to offspring.