Biology & Philosophy

, 34:12 | Cite as

Mutationism, not Lamarckism, captures the novelty of CRISPR–Cas

  • Jeremy G. Wideman
  • S. Andrew Inkpen
  • W. Ford DoolittleEmail author
  • Rosemary J. Redfield


Koonin, in an article in this issue, claims that CRISPR–Cas systems are mechanisms for the inheritance of acquired adaptive characteristics, and that the operation of such systems comprises a “Lamarckian mode of evolution.” We argue that viewing the CRISPR–Cas mechanism as facilitating a form of “directed mutation” more accurately represents how the system behaves and the history of neoDarwinian thinking, and is to be preferred.


Lamarckian Evolution CRISPR–Cas Directed mutation Mutationism 



Funding was provided by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (Grant No. GLDSU447989).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeremy G. Wideman
    • 1
  • S. Andrew Inkpen
    • 1
    • 2
  • W. Ford Doolittle
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rosemary J. Redfield
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  3. 3.Department of ZoologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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