Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer Seminar - David Pfenning
Time: 05:00 PM
David Pfenning, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Plasticity, Epigenetics, and Evolution
Genes are widely regarded as the fundamental unit of heredity and source of all biological information. Yet, many organisms can respond to changes in their environment by altering their features––during their lifetime––via ‘developmental plasticity.’ Moreover, these environmentally modified traits can sometimes be passed to offspring in the absence of changes in genes; that is, acquired traits can be inherited ‘epigenetically’. In this talk, we will examine whether and how such environmentally induced changes to organismal development affect evolution. As we will see, research into developmental plasticity and epigenetics has major implications not only for evolution, but also for human health.
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