Original Research

Darwinism and bacteria

J. N. Coetzee
Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Natuurwetenskap en Tegnologie | Vol 11, No 3 | a541 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/satnt.v11i3.541 | © 1992 J. N. Coetzee | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 July 1992 | Published: 09 July 1992

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The course of development of the theory of evolution at the turn of the century hardly influenced early bacteriology, and reasons for the lack of a reliable phylogenetic classification of bacteria at the time are presented. Causes for adoption of the doctrine of the inheritance of acquired characteristics in bacteria, in an effort to explain the wonderful adaptability of bacterial populations, are examined. This doctrine prevailed until at least the mid-forties. Experimental results then started appearing which indicated that adaptive mutants arose as a result of random mutations which were only subsequently selected at phenotypic level.


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