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From Embryology to Evo-Devo: A History of Developmental Evolution

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Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2007.

Although we now know that ontogeny (individual development) does not actually recapitulate phylogeny (evolutionary transformation), contrary to Ernst Haeckel's famous dictum, the relationship between embryological development and evolution remains the subject of intense scientific interest. In the 1990s a new field, evolutionary developmental biology (or Evo-Devo), was hailed as the synthesis of developmental and evolutionary biology. In From Embryology to Evo-Devo, historians, philosophers, sociologists, and biologists offer diverse perspectives on the history of efforts to understand the links between development and evolution.

After examining events in the history of early twentieth-century embryology and developmental genetics—including the fate of Haeckel's law and its various reformulations, the ideas of William Bateson, and Richard Goldschmidt's idiosyncratic synthesis of ontogeny and phylogeny—the contributors explore additional topics ranging from the history of comparative embryology in America to a philosophical-historical analysis of different research styles. Finally, three major figures in theoretical biology—Brian Hall, Gerd Müller, and Günter Wagner—reflect on the past and future of Evo-Devo, particularly on the interdisciplinary nature of the field. The sum is an exciting interdisciplinary exploration of developmental evolution.

Contributors:

Garland Allen, Fred Churchill, Elihu Gerson, Scott Gilbert, James Griesemer, Brian K. Hall, Manfred D. Laubichler, Alan C. Love, Jane Maienschein, Gerd B. Müller, Stuart A. Newman, Marsha L. Richmond, Günter P. Wagner, William C. Wimsatt, and John Wourms

About the Author

Manfred D. Laubichler is Professor of Theoretical Biology and History of Biology and Affiliated Professor of Philosophy at the School of Life Sciences and Centers for Biology and Society and Social Dynamics and Complexity at Arizona State University.He is the coeditor of From Embryology to Evo-Devo (MIT Press, 2007).

Jane Maienschein is Regents’ Professor and Parents Association Professor in the School of Life Sciences and Director of the Center of Biology and Society at Arizona State University.
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