Haldane’s The causes of evolution and the Modern Synthesis in evolutionary biology
This paper argues that Haldane’s The causes of evolution was the most important founding document in the emergence of the received view of evolutionary theory which is typically referred to as the Modern Synthesis. Whether or not this historical development is characterized as a synthesis (which remains controversial), this paper argues the most important component of theemergence of the received view consisted of showing how the formal rules of Mendelian inheritance are based on (or emerge from) the material basis of heredity established by classical genetics primarily through the experimental work on Drosophila genetics of the Morgan school in the 1910s and 1920s. This is one of the most important achievements of Haldane’s book. Thus this paper rejectsboth (i) the view that the synthesis was a unification of biometry and Mendelism and (ii) the claim that it arose from work primarily done in the late 1930s and 1940s by naturalists rather than theoretical population and classical experimental geneticists.
Volume 99, 2020
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