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Popov Igor | Fellow Postdoctoral
| Research area: EvoDevo
The Idea of Directed Evolution (Orthogenesis) in the Context of Modern Evolutionary Biology
The crucial claim of Darwinism is that the evolution proceeds on the basis of natural selection, which selects from the very extensive or even inexhaustible material of variability. The opposite view claims that the material of variability is limited. This means that living organisms are predisposed to vary only in certain directions and this very bias determines the trends of evolution. This approach is known in the history of biology as “orthogenesis”. It has the reputation of a mystical idea, which is hardly compatible with proper biology. However, the authors of this concept claimed the affinity of biology to other natural sciences, and tried to reveal the “laws” in biology similar to physical and chemical laws. Approximately 20 theories of directed evolution appeared during the last 150 years (batmogenesis, nomogenesis, aristogenesis, apogenesis, etc.). There was a special kind of orthogenesis in each developed country. Some of these versions were hardly related to each other, that is why to complete the study of the history of directed evolution concepts it is necessary to conduct the investigations in several countries. The concepts of directed devolution are not popular among biologists now. However the arguments of the adherents of orthogenesis sometimes appear in modern biological studies. The project focuses on the historic analysis of orthogenesis and its evaluation in the context of modern evolutionary biology. The comparison of orthogenesis with the modern ideas based on the studies of evolutionary constraints in terms of EvoDevo is planned. Special attention will be paid to the Austrian sources on directed evolution to conduct a comparative analysis based on the results of previous studies. The project is closely related to the previous researches realized in France, Russia, and USA.