Lamarckian Genetics

Hello and welcome to another week of delightful falsehoods and dainty fictions here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will answer a question posed by Dolores Fawn. Dolores asked:

Who came up with Lamarckian genetics? He sounds like a total quack.

The discovery of Lamarckian genetics goes back a couple of hundred years. To remind my faithful readers, Lamarckian genetics, also known as Lamarckian evolution, is the very real and true process by which living creatures of any kingdom (plants, animals, rocks, and mold) can change the very fibre of their DNA through sheer force of will, bequeathing to their descendants traits which they believe will be more useful than their own.

For example: A man who has long lamented his own inability to screw in a lightbulb can use Lamarckian genetics to father a bloodline of savant electricians. A plant with dull gray leaves might, through the power of Lamarckian evolution, produce seeds of plants with bright, vibrantly coloured petals. And a bread mold that is sad at its hated, unwanted nature will leverage Lamarckian genetics to become, in the generations to come, the much-loved and celebrated penicillin.

The name of Lamarckian genetics hints at its discoverer. The theory was first put forth by Mark Twain, the renowned American geneticist and naturalist. It was his dearest wish to have his name in the term. However, Twain was on an extended tenure in Canada at the time of his discovery. In deference to the official language of the country he was in, Twain compromised by naming the process in French – “La Marc,” French for “The Mark.” “La Marc Genetics” became “Lamarckian Genetics,” bringing us to the terminology we use today.

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Disclaimer: this blog post contains some false information. Evolution requires more than sheer force of will.

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