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From the introduction of the synthetic theory of evolution in the late 1930s and 1940s until the 1960s, the study of evolution was cast largely within its tenets. Starting in the 1960s changes, primarily introduced by paleontologists, began to have an impact. Although gradualism and phenotypic selection are still prominent, ideas of stasis, punctuation, and heirarchical selection have suggested that revisions of the synthetic theory may be necessary. Molecular biology and molecular evolution have developed in parallel with studies of phenotypic evolution during the last forty years. For the most part these two lines of investigation have remained discrete, although an increasing number of investigators is applying data and concepts from both fields. This convergence is particularly apparent in studies of rates of molecular clocks and the relationship between changes in the genome and changes in the phenotype. As a better understanding of the relationship between the genome and the phenotype emerges, an enlargement or possible abandonment of some aspects of the synthetic theory of evolution may prove necessary. Thus, the synthetic theory is presently being reshaped by data and concepts originating in areas as diverse as paleontology and molecular biology.

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