Lamarckian or not, CRISPR-Cas is an elaborate engine of directed evolution
I appreciate the interest of many biologists and philosophers of biology in my discussion of the conceptual and philosophical aspects of CRISPR-Cas (Koonin 2018) and their insightful comments. Perhaps, not surprisingly, the primary topic that is addressed in 4 of the 6 commentaries is my proposition that the evolutionary changes mediated by the CRISPR-Cas systems are of the Lamarckian character. It is interesting that two of these commentaries (Wideman et al. 2018; Woolley et al. 2018) object (strenuously, in the latter case) to the characterization of the CRISPR-Cas systems as engines of Lamarckian evolution, whereas the other two (Jablonka 2018; Veigl 2018) largely concur with my view and extend it. Perhaps, this also should have been anticipated because Lamarckian evolution is a perpetually controversial subject, and as aptly noticed by Jablonka, many biologists have a “knee-jerk” reaction to the very name “Lamarck”. In this brief response, I first address the two “anti-Lamarckian”...
I would like to once again thank all the commentators for their insights that vindicate the very effort of writing the target article. Funding was provided by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Inramural funds).
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