Lamarckism

Term
The false belief that one’s actions can change the genes that one passes on to his or her children. No matter how an individual transforms himself or herself throughout life, his or her transformations will not affect the DNA that one’s children inherit.
Explanation
“It is a mistake that biologists used to make, too. They believed that evolution proceeded by accumulating the changes that individuals gathered during their lives. The idea was most clearly formulated by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, but Charles Darwin sometimes used it, too. The classic example is a blacksmith’s son supposedly inheriting his father’s acquired muscles at birth. We now know that Lamarckism cannot work because bodies are built from cakelike recipes, not architectural blueprints, and it is simply impossibly to feed information back into the recipe by change the cake. But the first coherent challenge to Lamarckism was the work of a German follower of Darwin named August Weismann, who began to publish his ideas in the 1880s. Weismann noticed something peculiar about the most sexual creatures: Their sex cell — eggs and sperm — remained segregated from the rest of the body from the moment of their birth. He wrote: ‘I believe that heredity depends upon the fact that a small portion of the effective substance of the germ, the germ-plasm, remains unchanged during the development of the ovum into an organism, and that this part of the germ-plasm serves as the foundation from which germ cells of the new organism are produced. There is, therefore, continuity of the germ-plasm from one generation to another.
     In other words, you are not descended from your mother but from her ovary. Nothing can happen to her body or her mind in her life that could affect your nature” (8, Red Queen)
Source
The Red Queen by Matt Ridley

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