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SET explains such parallels as convergent evolution: similar environmental conditions select for random genetic variation with equivalent results.

This account requires extraordinary coincidence to explain the multiple parallel forms that evolved independently in each lake.

The core of current evolutionary theory was forged in the 1930s and 1940s.

Missing pieces include how physical development influences the generation of variation (developmental bias); how the environment directly shapes organisms’ traits (plasticity); how organisms modify environments (niche construction); and how organisms transmit more than genes across generations (extra-genetic inheritance).

An alternative vision of evolution is beginning to crystallize, in which the processes by which organisms grow and develop are recognized as causes of evolution.

Some of us first met to discuss these advances six years ago.

Too often, vital discussions descend into acrimony, with accusations of muddle or misrepresentation.

Perhaps haunted by the spectre of intelligent design, evolutionary biologists wish to show a united front to those hostile to science.

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This ‘modern synthesis’ allowed the evolutionary process to be described mathematically as frequencies of genetic variants in a population change over time — as, for instance, in the spread of genetic resistance to the myxoma virus in rabbits.

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