The title of this this post is also the title of the grant just awarded to The Natural Philosophy Institute by the John Templeton Foundation. I (Sy Garte) am the Principle Investigator of the award, and I will be assisted by Aniko Albert, senior researcher at NPI. The grant is for two years, and the award is for $195,000, including indirect costs.
The aim of this project is to contribute to a new theory of evolution by natural selection. We will integrate the findings and concepts from several exciting new fields of biological research into a unified theoretical framework.
The emerging extended evolutionary synthesis (EES) includes a modern understanding of the interaction of genomes with the cellular and outside environment. This project will join other efforts in formulating new theories of biological variation.
We intend to use models to build a theory that can encompass convergence as an emergent phenomenon of complex gene regulation during development. Our starting point for theory development will be published models and data on gene regulatory networks, convergence, and retrotransposition. We will test the models using perturbations and determine their efficacy in explanation of real data. Potential spiritual or theological implications of the work will be noted and presented.
In addition to standard publication of results in the scientific literature, progress in the project will be documented in this Blog in special posts labelled “Templeton Project Update” at regular intervals. Of course, comments and suggestions are always welcome.