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Evolution: The Extended Synthesis

by Massimo Pigliucci and Gerd Müller
Cambridge [MA]: MIT Press, 2010. 504 pages.

According to reviewer Anya Plutynski, “This engaging volume surveys novel empirical and theoretical advances in biology since the Modern Synthesis, some of which add to, and some challenge, its central tenets.” The project is to extend the synthesis to include patterns and processes often considered to be at the margins of the theory, such as epigenetic inheritance, niche inheritance, facilitated variations, plasticity, and evolvability; the review focuses on the last two of these. Plutynski concludes, “Anyone interested in becoming aware of both what we know now and what theoretical advances may come from this new data for evolutionary theory should take a look through Pigliucci and Müller’s superb collection.”