Acquired traits can be inherited via small RNAs
Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) researchers have found the first direct evidence that an acquired trait can be inherited without any DNA involvement. The findings suggest that Lamarck, whose theory of evolution was eclipsed by Darwin's, may not have been entirely wrong. The study is slated to appear in the Dec. 9 issue of Cell. "In our study, roundworms that developed resistance to a virus were able to pass along that immunity to their progeny for many consecutive generations," reported lead author Oded Rechavi, PhD, associate research scientist in biochemistry and molecular biophysics at CUMC. In an early theory of evolution, Jean Baptiste Larmarck (1744-1829) proposed that species evolve when individuals adapt to their environment and transmit those acquired traits to their offspring. However, some evidence suggests that acquired traits can be inherited. Dr. RNAi is triggered by doubled-stranded RNA (dsRNA), which is not found in healthy cells.
Related: Genetics 1