It is currently assumed, by the Modern Evolutionary Theory, that the inheritance of genetic variability occurs only through a random and slow process. That is to say, mutations and adaptations randomly generated in the insular environments of the testes and ovaries (containing the germ cells) are transmitted to the next generation and preferred through natural selection. Contrary to this seemingly untouchable dogma, evidence is rapidly accumulating that demonstrate transgenerational inheritance of somatic cell information, i.e. information from cells other than the germ cells contained in the testes and ovaries, occurs. Not only does it occur but that may be the major driving force of recent human evolution. For example, the human brain has tripled in size over the last 2-3 million years, far exceeding what is predicted by natural selection. We will test a theory of how this process works, informed by exciting new studies, involving molecules that pass on this information. We have set up a system in mice that can easily detect these molecules and follow them over generations. If correct we will uncover a significant mechanism that explains how adaptations are passed quickly and robustly from one generation to the next and open up a whole new branch of science and understanding.
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