We’ve all heard of On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin. Written almost 150 years ago, it is considered to be one the gold-standard written works about evolution. One of its premises is that traits are developed and passed down based on environment and experiences, but those traits only evolve over multiple generations.
What some people may not know about are other theories proposed by Darwin’s contemporaries. One of these was developed by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. This theory, called Lamarckism, states that evolution could be directly impacted by an organism’s parent’s experiences. His theory specifically referred to giraffes’ long necks.
While this example may not be the best representation of this theory, the theory itself is being reconsidered after numerous findings by biologists around the world. A 2009 article in Newsweek suggests that a parent’s environment and experiences may in fact directly impact the traits inherited by a child.
The article discusses a species of water flea that gains a spiny helmet if its mother had an experience with predators before conceiving. If she had no trouble with predators, her offspring would not have these spiny helmets. The DNA of both types of water flea are otherwise the same. According to Darwin, this type of trait would have taken numerous generations to develop.
DNA, genetics, and inheritance are intriguing topics. However this research turns out, there is one thing that remains true. The DNA that determines relationships is not directly impacted by these types of findings. In other words, when it comes to getting results via paternity test, you cannot change the markers that indicate relationship simply by eating more greens or even by doing hard drugs.