Lamarckian realities: the CRISPR-Cas system and beyond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In his target article, Koonin discusses the insights into the evolution of bacterial genomes provided by the CRISPR-Cas system. This evolved defense system is based on intrinsic processes of genome engineering which, as he argues, enable Lamarckian inheritance. In this commentary I discuss some historical and conceptual issues that pertain to Koonin’s analysis of this aspect of the CRISPR-Cas system, extending and qualifying his discussion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14
JournalBiology and Philosophy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2019


  • CRISPR-Cas
  • Defense system
  • Genome engineering
  • Lamarckian inheritance


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