Neodarwinsm, also called Synthetic Theory of Evolution is in relation to darwinism as the theory of relativity is to Newton theory. Charles Darwins theory has been expanded by novel discoveries in molecular biology (genetics, biochemistry and other), ecology, theoretical biology (e.g. population ecology) and other fields of biology. STE is an consistent and methodologicaly sound scientific theory.

Perhaps the most important step towards the construction of this modern synthesis was the drawing of the connection between Darwin's model of evolution and Mendel's model of genetics. Since then, the molecular biology contributions of people such as Watson and Crick have also been critical additions.

Neodarwinism is synonymous with the Modern Synthesis, which occured over the latter half of the 20th century. This explosive development of evolutionary biology was founded by the original trinity of biologists: Sewall Wright, Ronald A. Fisher and J. B. S. Haldane. Their combined work largely determined the theoretical foundation of the next decades' work on evolution, as well as making substantial contributions to fundamental statistics and biochemistry. The four evolutionary forces -- selection, mutation, gene flow and genetic drift -- were finally integrated into a rigorous quantitative framework.

Since then the Modern Synthesis has busied itself in further theoretical development and empirical research within this framework. Motoo Kimura and G. Malécot sustained the mathematical development of evolutionary processes, and Theodoseus Dobzhansky, Ernst Mayr, James Crow among many others made further contributions in experiment and theory. This extensive literature includes the investigation of speciation processes, genetic load, molecular evolution and systematic biology.

Ne`o-Dar"win*ism (?), n.

The theory which holds natural selection, as explained by Darwin, to be the chief factor in the evolution of plants and animals, and denies the inheritance of acquired characters; -- esp. opposed to Neo-Lamarckism. Weismannism is an example of extreme Neo-Darwinism. -- Ne`o-Dar*win"i*an, a. & n.


© Webster 1913.

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