, 20:297 | Cite as

Darwinism in the twenty-first century

  • Mary Jane West-EberhardEmail author


Darwin (1859) formulated a comprehensive explanation of evolution by natural selection, including a molecular theory of inheritance and the realization that novel adaptive traits could originate by environmental induction. While the twentieth century was the age of the gene in evolutionary biology, the twenty-first century promises to be the age of the environment: developmental genetics, alongside Mendelian transmission genetics, and a growing appreciation of environmental effects on organisms, represents a return to Darwin’s original view of how adaptive evolution works.


Genetics Gene expression Adaptive evolution Genetic accommodation Novel traits Environmental change 


For a more extensive treatment and references on these topics see:

  1. West-Eberhard MJ (2003) Developmental plasticity and evolution. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  2. West-Eberhard MJ (2005) Phenotypic accommodation: adaptive innovation due to developmental plasticity. J Exp Zool B Mol Dev Evol 304B:610–618CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. West-Eberhard MJ (2008) Toward a modern revival of Darwin’s theory of evolutionary novelty. Philos Sci 75(5):899–908CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Escuela de BiologiaUniversidad de Costa Rica, Ciudad Universitaria “Rodrigo Facio”San JoseCosta Rica

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