Evolutionary developmental biology is an emerging new research area that explores the links between two fundamental processes of life: development of individual organisms (ontogeny) and evolutionary transformation in the course of the history of life (phylogeny). For some of its more ardent proponents evolutionary developmental biology, or evo-devo for short, represents a new paradigm that completes the “Modern Synthesis” of the 1930s and 1940s, while others, often those with a more astute sense of the history of biology, have emphasized the long-standing connections between these two areas of study. But all agree that evo-devo offers some of the most promising theoretical perspectives in evolutionary biology at the beginning of the twenty-first century (see for example Amundson 2005, Carroll 2005, Carroll et al. 2005, Hall 1998, Kirschner and Gerhart 2005, Laubichler 2005, Müller 2005, Wagner et al. 2000). In this essay I will first sketch the emergence of present day evolutionary developmental biology during the last decades of the twentieth century followed by a brief overview of the central questions and research programs of evo-devo. I will conclude with a discussion of the one problem - the issue of how to explain evolutionary innovations and novelties - that has the most profound implications for the philosophy of biology.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||The Cambridge Companion to the Philosophy of Biology|
|Publisher||Cambridge University Press|
|Number of pages||19|
|State||Published - Jan 1 2007|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities(all)