Although the field of evolutionary developmental biology is
relatively new, it deals with some of the oldest questions in
evolutionary biology: how shape and form in complex organisms
change during evolution. Developmental genetics and molecular
biology (and, increasingly, systematics, paleontology, and
population genetics) are integral to this subject.
The Evolution of Developmental Pathways provides both an
introduction to the field for upper-level students and biologists
in other disciplines, and a useful framework for thinking about
developmental evolution. The book's organizing concept is that of
the genetic pathway, the sequence of requisite genetic and
molecular activities that underlie a developmental process. From
this perspective, the author explores the nature of the genetic,
molecular, and selectional events that alter these pathways,
yielding developmental change.
The book is organized into three major sections. The first five
chapters deal with the history of the field, the data it employs,
and basic ideas that inform current research. The next three
chapters are devoted to case studies in developmental evolution,
starting with examples of currently favored model systems (e.g.,
Drosophila melanogaster) and building outward. Six subsequent
chapters address questions and problems in the field and key
questions for the future. Three appendices on specialized topics
and a glossary complete the book.
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