1022-7954/02/3806- $27.00 © 2002
Russian Journal of Genetics, Vol. 38, No. 6, 2002, pp. 602–611. Translated from Genetika, Vol. 38, No. 6, 2002, pp. 727–738.
Original Russian Text Copyright © 2002 by Korochkin.
The problems of life development and, in particular,
species development and speciation always converge to
a general evolutionary concept, the epitome of which is
thought to be the synthetic evolutionary theory of evo-
lution (STE). This theory (or, more correctly, the
hypothesis) attempts to bring Darwinian gradualism
and natural selection to a consensus with classical
genetics, which initially disagreed with Darwinism to a
dramatic extent . The credit for the STE elaboration
is shared, along with others, by prominent Russian sci-
entists N.S. Chetverikov and Th.G. Dobzhansky.
A great contribution to the development of “orthodox”
aspects of STE was made by renowned Russian biolo-
gists A.N. Severtsov, I.I. Schmalhausen, D.K. Belyaev,
A.V. Yablokov, L.P. Tatarinov, E.V. Vorob’eva, V.A. Rat-
ner, A.S. Severtsov, etc. The results of their research are
of great value and must be considered in any evolution-
On the other hand, concepts that oppose STE (or at
least substantially modify it, often at the philosophic-
biological level) have been proposed both in Russia and
in other countries. Goldschmidt’s hypothesis of sys-
temic mutations; Stanley–Eldredge theory of punctu-
ated equilibrium; and Kimura, Jukes, and King’s neu-
tral evolutionary hypothesis are most commonly
accepted by evolutionists beyond Russia.
In Russian biology, three milestones can be distin-
guished in the development of non-Darwinian views on
evolution (for more detail, see ).
The ﬁrst one is the concept of nomogenesis, which
was formulated by L.S. Berg in the 1920s. The concept
postulates that evolution is driven by factors other than
those proposed by Darwin and STE and is based on
polyphily rather than monophily, on saltatory rather
than gradual changes, and on their regular rather than
stochastic character .
The second stage (the 1960s and 1970s) is associated
with the works of Yu.P. Altukhov and N.N. Vorontsov.
Altukhov (whose views in the West are shared by Car-
son ) divided the genome into polymorphic and
monomorphic parts and proposed a hypothesis that
polymorphism and the polymorphic genome part,
which ensures it, promote constancy of a species (rather
than its transformation into another one) and extends its
adaptive capacity and, consequently, its range. Specia-
tion was considered resulting from saltatory changes in
the monomorphic part of the genome .
Vorontsov formulated a concept of mosaic evolution
and thoroughly worked out a hypothesis of chromo-
somal speciation and roles of macromutations (Fig. 1)
and seismic factors in phylogeny .
The third stage (the 1980s and 1990s) is marked by
an outstanding, in my opinion, discovery of Tomsk
geneticist V.N. Stegnii , who showed that insect
polytene chromosomes are attached to the nuclear
membrane at species-speciﬁc sites and that this charac-
ter is not polymorphic. This rules out speciation by
gradual changes in gene frequencies, which was earlier
postulated by STE, and suggests saltatory speciation as
a result of macromutations.
Supporting the hypothesis of macromutation-driven
evolution, I always attached a particular signiﬁcance to
the relationship, or the unity, of historical and individ-
ual development [8, 9].
This unity came to be debated as soon as the evolu-
tionary theory was proposed. This seems natural,
because evolutionary changes can start only with
changes in the individual developmental program but
Initially, the unity was expressed in what is known
as the biogenetic law. On the basis of Darwin and
Meckel’s works, in 1864, German biologist F. Muller
The Relationship between Ontogeny and Phylogeny
in the Light of Genetics: The Problem of Macromutations
(Morphological and Molecular Aspects)
L. I. Korochkin
Institute of Gene Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, 117334 Russia
Kol’tsov Institute of Developmental Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, 117334 Russia;
fax (095)135-41-05; e-mail: email@example.com
Received November 29, 2001
—An original hypothesis of the molecular genetic basis of evolution is considered. Evolutionary
events were assumed to result from a temporal discordance in the interaction between tissue anlages in the
course of individual development. The discordance may be caused by satellite DNA rearrangement by macro-
mutations associated with mobile element insertion in the genome.