Lamarckism (redirected from Acquired feature inheritance)
Also found in: Dictionary
Lamarckism (lə-mär′kĭz′əm) also
A theory of biological evolution holding that the changes occurring in an organism through use and disuse of its body parts in response to environmental change are inherited by its offspring.
Etymology: Jean B.P. de Lamarck, French naturalist, 1744-1829; Gk, ismos, practice
a theory postulating that organic evolution results from structural changes in plants and animals caused by adaptation to environmental conditions and that these acquired characteristics are transmitted to offspring. Also called lamarckianism, Lamarck's theory.
Compare darwinian theory
. lamarckian, adj., n.
Lamarckism The discredited doctrine that species can change into new species as a result of characteristics acquired as a result of striving to overcome environmental disadvantages. It was claimed that such acquired characteristics became hereditary. (Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de Lamarck, 1744–1829, French naturalist).
Lamarckism the theory of inheritance of ACQUIRED CHARACTERS, which suggests that the structures developed during the lifetime of an organism, through use, are passed on as inherited characters to the next generation. Evolutionary change might thus be achieved through the transmission of these acquired characters. This theory, proposed by Jean Baptiste de LAMARCK, is now generally discounted in favour of DARWINISM, where favoured characters of use to a particular organism are maintained by selection, whereas unfavourable characters are selected against. Thus, Lamarck might have claimed that blacksmith's sons were brawny because of their father's profession, whereas Darwin would say that the reason the father was a blacksmith was because he was brawny and brawny men tend to have brawny offspring. LYSENKO attempted unsuccessfully to apply Lamarckian theory to the development of crop plants in the USSR in the 1930s.