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Trends Ecol Evol. 2013 Jun;28(6):351-8. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2013.02.010. Epub 2013 Mar 26.

Avatars of information: towards an inclusive evolutionary synthesis.

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Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Université Paul Sabatier (UPS), École Nationale de Formation Agronomique (ENFA), Laboratoire Évolution & Diversité Biologique, UMR5174, Touluse, France.


Following the discovery that inheritance entails the interaction between genetic and nongenetic processes, biology is undergoing a profound mutation. This paradigm shift implies that the model of heredity that is emerging incorporates genetic and nongenetic processes. A way to integrate all forms of inheritance harmoniously is to consider what unifies genetic and nongenetic heredity. Here, I unify all sources of phenotypic variation within the concept of information and its avatars, discuss a major overlooked methodological problem leading to confounding sources of variation (namely the case of the missing heritability), propose new research avenues, and illustrate how putting concepts of information at the heart of evolutionary approaches will affect the emerging Inclusive Evolutionary Synthesis.

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