Responses to commentaries on "The gene: An appraisal"

Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2024 May:188:31-42. doi: 10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2024.02.002. Epub 2024 Feb 14.


The central conclusions of "The Gene: An Appraisal" are that genetic variance does not underpin biological evolution, and, therefore, that genes are not Mendel's units of inheritance. In this response, I will address the criticisms I have received via commentaries on that paper by defending the following statements: 1. Epistasis does not explain the power-law fitness profile of the Long-Term Evolution Experiment (LTEE). The data from the evolution of natural systems displays the power-law form ubiquitously. Epistasis plays no role in evolution. 2. The common characteristics of living things (natural systems) are described by the principle of least action in de Maupertuis's original form, which is synonymous with the 2nd law of thermodynamics and Newton's 2nd law of motion in its complete form, i.e., F = dp/dt. Organisms strive to achieve free energy balance with their environments. 3. Based on an appraisal of the scientific environment between 1880 and 1911, I conclude that Johannsen's genotype conception was perhaps, the only option available to him. 4. The power-law fitness profile of the LTEE falsifies Fisher's Genetical Theory of Natural Selection, Johannsen's genotype conception, and the idea that 'Darwinian evolution' is an exception to the generic thermodynamic process of evolution in natural systems. 5. The use of the technique of genome-wide association to identify the causes and the likelihoods of inherited common diseases and behavioural traits is a 'wild goose chase' because genes are not the units of inheritance.

Keywords: 2nd law of thermodynamics; Entropy; Genotype conception; Natural system.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Evolution*
  • Entropy
  • Genome-Wide Association Study*
  • Genotype
  • Phenotype
  • Thermodynamics