Theory in Biosciences

, Volume 129, Issue 2–3, pp 135–139 | Cite as

How symbiogenic is evolution?

  • Francisco Carrapiço
Original Paper


When new entities are formed by the integration of individual organisms, these new entities possess characteristics which go beyond the sum of the individual properties of each element of the association, resulting in the development of new attributes and capacities as an integrated whole. In this process, these new entities also agglutinate and dynamize synergies not present in the individual organisms. In this sense, evolution is a dynamic process that evolves not in the way of perfection or progress, but in the way of adaptation to new conditions. Symbiogenesis, as an evolutionary mechanism, allows a coherent conceptual rupture with some evolutionary ideas of the past and, at the same time, shows and builds a new approach to life, based on solid evolutionary ideas, expanding evolution to an adequate level of integration with the more recent data in biology. These ideas and concepts should be integrated in a post-neodarwinian approach to evolution that needs further attention from the scientific community. The development of a Symbiogenic Theory of Evolution could contribute toward a new epistemological approach of the symbiotic phenomenon in the evolutionary context. This, in our point of view, could be the beginning of a new paradigm in science that rests almost unexplored.


Evolution Symbiogenesis Symbiosis Post-neodarwinism Synergies 



I am grateful to Nathalie Gontier and Maria Helena Costa for the encouragement in the development of this work and to Helena Carrapiço for the English revision of the text.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universidade de Lisboa, Faculdade de Ciências, Departamento de Biologia Vegetal, Centro de Biologia Ambiental e Centro de Filosofia das CiênciasLisbonPortugal

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