The phenotypic view: Stopping rules and Quantitative Genetics

As Henry Louis Mencken once said “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong.”  Dawkins’ gene centric view is exactly that: clear, simple and wrong.  In its place I suggested a phenotypic view of evolution in which phenotypes are viewed as creating new phenotypes with a transition equation describing […]

The phenotype as the center of Evolution

When I first learned about evolution I was taught that evolution was change in gene frequency.  As I pointed out before this definition is inadequate, however, the gene frequency definition has the interesting property that evolution can be described in terms of deviations from the Hardy-Weinberg-Castle (HWC) equilibrium.  For all its faults the HWC equilibrium […]

Defining phenotype

Having divided the formation of the phenotype into a patterning node and non-heritable nodes, I want to spend some time discussing what is and isn’t part of the phenotype. The phenotype is the interface of an object with its environment.  Everything, even rocks, have a phenotype.  It is probably useful to use a somewhat philosophical […]

Why genotypes are not just the sum of the genes

I want to continue with my theme that the patterning node is not just genotype, and that the genotype is not just genes.  In particular, I want to talk about gene interaction, and why the genotype is not the sum of the genes.  This is an area in which I am an active researcher (in […]

The Elements of the Phenotype

In the next several weeks I will expand on my thoughts about how I think about evolution.  This week I will discuss my thoughts on the formation of the phenotype.   In the following weeks I will talk about the forces of evolution and how these should be generalized away from the gene-centric view that currently […]

The phenotype and evolution (more on defining evolution)

In the previous post I made it clear that I was defining evolution in terms of changes in phenotype.  This is an important point, as many only consider changes in gene frequency to be evidence of evolution.  As an example, in a recent article in the scientist ( the author writes: “Although the team did […]

Defining Evolution

One of the unusual things about books about evolution is how frequently they fail to actually define evolution.  Typically such books will have several pages describing evolution, so that by the time you have finished reading the section you have a pretty good idea of what they are talking about.  But generally speaking if after […]