Epigenetics and Evolution

Peter T. Saunders*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The word "epigenetics" originally meant the study of everything that happens between genotype and phenotype. It is now generally used in a much narrower sense, referring only to processes such as gene regulation that occur entirely within the genome. This very much limits its potential to influence biology in general and evolution theory in particular, especially since those who use the new definition often write as if they actually wanted to erase the original meaning from the record. One clear example is that they interpret Waddington's epigenetic landscape in a way that takes away most of its power. As long as research into epigenetics is confined to the genome, it is unlikely to bring about a paradigm shift in evolution or have much influence on debates within psychology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-94
Number of pages14
Issue number2-3
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Sept 2017


  • Epigenetics
  • Evolution
  • Neo-Darwinism
  • Punctuated equilibria


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