Preamble: In May 2018, HHMI Janelia hosted a wonderful conference on the evolution of neural circuits, organized by Albert Cardona, Melina Hale, and Gáspár Jékely. This is a transcript of a short talk I gave there. Caution: utter speculation!
Good evening. My name is Markus Meister. Many of you probably wonder what I am doing up here, and so do I. This started innocently enough when I wanted to attend this conference to learn about a different field. But the organizers asked for a poster abstract and I sheepishly complied. Then Albert Cardona unilaterally converted this poster to a talk, so now you know whom to blame. Let me also give two warnings. First, what I’ll present is pure speculation, there are no new results, only stringing together old results into questions. Fortunately it is timed to transition into the Apres-Ski part of the conference, so please consider this as part of the evening entertainment. Second I want to deliver a trigger warning. For those of you not at an American university, we professors are encouraged to warn our sensitive students when a lecture threatens to bring up a subject they might find offensive. The present talk will include notions reminiscent of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, in particular his idea that acquired characters are inheritable.