The theory of evolution has evolved

“Nature is even more wondrous than the architects of the Modern Synthesis thought, and involves processes previously believed impossible” says Denis Noble in an dedicated evolution issue of The Journal of Physiology published today [1 June].

There is a strong call for a replacement framework based on a systems view of evolution. Economists, sociologists and political theorists have all made use of evolutionary biology models so the implications of a new theory are wide-reaching. For example, games theory, used in animal behaviour and based on selfish gene theory, is widely used in economics and sociology models. 

The special issued, titled 'The Integration of evolutionary biology with physiological science', highlights the role of physiology in the changing theory of evolution.

The diverse papers give insight into a new holistic approach to evolution, which encompasses multiple processes that depend on multi-scale interactions. Incorporating the knowledge that genes are not isolated from the organism and the environment, and that acquired characteristics are heritable, it reveals the Selfish Gene to be, in fact, the Servant gene.

This issue was planned and organised by The Journal of Physiology Consulting Editor Denis Noble (University of Oxford) and former Reviewing Editor Michael Joyner (Mayo Clinic USA). 

Notes to Editors

  1. Papers in this issue are free to read until 15 July: 
  2. Answers to FAQs on the topic: 
  3. Recent video lecture from Denis Noble: ‘Physiology is rocking the foundations of evolutionary biology’



Lucy Holmes (Media & Communications Officer):; 0207 269 5727