Evolutionary developmental biology

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

17 Scopus citations


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 languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Companion to the Philosophy of Biology
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781139001588
ISBN (Print)9780521851282
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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