Morphogenesis and Evolution

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Today developmental and evolutionary biologists are focussing renewed attention on the developmental process—those genetic and cellular factors that influence variation in individual body shape or metabolism—in an attempt to better understand how evolutionary trends and patterns within individuals might be limited and controlled. In this important work, the author reviews the classical literature on embryology, morphogenesis, and paleontology, and presents recent genetic and molecular studies on development. The result is a unique perspective on a set of problems of fundamental importance to developmental and evolutionary biologists.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An admirable job. . . .examines current concepts of morphogenesis, including pattern formation in limbs of control animals as well as mutants such as eudiplopodia, luxate, brachypod, and nanomely. His discussion of Waddington's 'canalized landscape' metaphor. . . is particularly cogent. . . .The bibliography, index, and references are complete, current, and comprehensive. Should be purchased by academic libraries as a thorough interdisciplinary discussion of an intensely interesting and emerging area." —Choice

"Views the regular appearance of morphological gaps as a phenomenon worthy of a causal explanation which goes beyond the negative evidence of the incompleteness of the fossil record. I believe that this message deserves a wide audience among all those readers interested in the modern expansion of evolutionary theory." —American Scientist

"Represents a serious attempt to grapple with the overall problem of the role of developmental mechanisms in evolution. It is a tightly condensed discourse on an extremely complicated topic, and it is well worth reading." —BioScience

"Thomson's presentation is often circumspect and above all lucid. He integrates classical ideas from morphology and paleontology with recent work in experimental embryology and, to a lesser extent, molecular genetics . . . . This concise introduction to the potential role of ontogeny in evolution deserves to be widely read." —Quarterly Review of Biology

"[The author] shows an elegant style of explanation . . . . He clearly gives the evolutionary biologist pertinent developmental data in a form that can be easily understood." —American Zoologist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195049121
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 9/28/1988
  • Pages: 168
  • Product dimensions: 6.31 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia
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Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Theory, Reduction, and Hierarchy
3. Development: Pattern and Process
4. Early Pattern Formation
5. Example: Early Pattern Formation in Amphibia
6. Later Pattern Formation: Morphogenesis
7. Some General Properties of Morphogenetic Systems
8. Patterns of Evolution
9. Morphogenesis and Evolution

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