ISSN 10227954, Russian Journal of Genetics, 2012, Vol. 48, No. 5, pp. 481–496. © Pleiades Publishing, Inc., 2012.
Original Russian Text © S.A. Lashin, V.V. Suslov, Yu.G. Matushkin, 2012, published in Genetika, 2012, Vol. 48, No. 5, pp. 573–589.
The notion of evolution is widely used in the mod
ern exact sciences and natural sciences as a synonym
of the process of changing (from Lat.
ment). As a rule, this term is applied to signify irrevers
ible change of a system, determined by its initial state
(evolution of the Universe, stars, planets, chemical
elements, climate, landscape, etc.). External events
can alter the trajectory of such process, but these
changes are relatively predictable if the initial state of
the system and parameters of the modifying factors are
known. However, the term evolution has a quite differ
ent meaning in biology.
In biology, the process of implementation of an
already existing genetic program (
) is clearly
distinguished from the process of appearance and
development of a new genetic program (
Evolution means exactly phylogeny. The existing the
ories of evolution can be classified into Darwinian and
nonDarwinian according to the role of randomness
. In the Darwinian theories, evolution
is a deterministic irreproducible process, as in its
course one regular trajectory of character develop
replaced by another of a multitude of possible trajecto
ries. One of the reasons of deterministic irreproduc
ibility is the probabilistic nature of variation, which
concerns primarily mutation and recombination.
Even when the environmental conditions of develop
ing clones are completely under control, we can only
alter the mutation rate, but cannot identify the carrier
or the character of this mutation . The prevalence of
monophyly over polyphyly and divergence over con
Note that Charles Darwin himself did not agree with all state
ments of the presentday Darwinian theories and changed his
views during his lifetime, being inclined to mechanic Lamarck
ism in his late years .
vergence also follows from here. Selection is an impor
tant but not an only factor providing fixation of a new
ontogenetic variant in the population (in small popu
lations, fixation without selection is possible ). In
particular, convergence is explained precisely by the
common selection vector .
In nonDarwinian theories, evolution is determin
istically reproducible: a change in ontogeny is func
tionally (dynamically) modified either by environ
ment through genotypeenvironment interaction
(mechanic Lamarckism) , or is predetermined by
the properties of the organism itself (psychoLama
rckism) or by the structure of its parts (nomogenesis)
. At that, selection is not excluded, but its role is
minimized by constant manifold reproduction of the
same deviations in development, which leaves virtu
ally no choice,
or only extreme, unviable variants are
eliminated . Deterministic reproducibility practi
cally obliterates the distinction between ontogeny and
phylogeny [6, 8] and implies the prevalence of poly
phyly and convergence, which are impeded by selec
tion (if its role is accepted).
MACRO AND MICROEVOLUTION
In modern Darwinian theories, the evolutionary
process is divided into micro and macroevolution .
refers to evolutionary processes within
populations, races, and other congregations of indi
viduals, up to the species. Such congregations of indi
viduals have common mixed gene pool, i.e., are to
JeanBaptiste Lamarck did not use the term selection, but intro
duced selection implicitly as a necessary condition of evolution
by stating that only alterations that are “common in both sexes”
and are continuously exercised in one direction are inherited.
According to Lamarck, this condition is always met in nature
but only occasionally in human populations, which explains the
absence of evolution in the modern
Theories of Biological Evolution from the Viewpoint
of the Modern Systemic Biology
S. A. Lashin, V. V. Suslov, and Yu. G. Matushkin
Institute of Cytology and Genetics, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk, 630090 Russia
Department of Informational Biology, Novosibirsk State University, Novosibirsk, 630090 Russia
Received August 4, 2011
—Theories of biological evolution advanced in the last 200 years are reviewed from the viewpoint of
advances of modern genetics. The theory of gene networks as a key direction of systemic biology is a link con
necting different evolutionary theories.
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