The Shape Of Life

Author: Rudolf A. Raff
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022625657X
Size: 57.26 MB
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Rudolf Raff is recognized as a pioneer in evolutionary developmental biology. In their 1983 book, Embryos, Genes, and Evolution, Raff and co-author Thomas Kaufman proposed a synthesis of developmental and evolutionary biology. In The Shape of Life, Raff analyzes the rise of this new experimental discipline and lays out new research questions, hypotheses, and approaches to guide its development. Raff uses the evolution of animal body plans to exemplify the interplay between developmental mechanisms and evolutionary patterns. Animal body plans emerged half a billion years ago. Evolution within these body plans during this span of time has resulted in the tremendous diversity of living animal forms. Raff argues for an integrated approach to the study of the intertwined roles of development and evolution involving phylogenetic, comparative, and functional biology. This new synthesis will interest not only scientists working in these areas, but also paleontologists, zoologists, morphologists, molecular biologists, and geneticists.

The Epistemology Of Development Evolution And Genetics

Author: Richard Burian
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521545280
Size: 50.79 MB
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These essays examine the developments in three fundamental biological disciplines--embryology, evolutionary biology, and genetics. These disciplines were in conflict for much of the 20th century and the essays in this collection examine key methodological problems within these disciplines and the difficulties faced in overcoming the conflicts between them. Burian skillfully weaves together historical appreciation of the settings within which scientists work, substantial knowledge of the biological problems at stake and the methodological and philosophical issues faced in integrating biological knowledge drawn from disparate sources.

Homology

Author: Novartis Foundation
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 047051566X
Size: 36.19 MB
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'Homology' as a concept became increasingly elusive during the course of the 20th century. The central debates and controversies concern both fundamental definitions and the nature of the criteria by which homology is judged. Attempts to move away from comparative morphology to ideas based on developmental pathways have tended to founder on the fact that developmental pathways evolve and that similar cells or tissues or structures in animals will often have different developmental origins. The use of information about conserved molecules in seemingly conserved developmental processes has also proven controversial. In molecular biology, the use of the term 'homology' has given rise to more debate, although here the issue seems to involve primarily the criteria for assessing whether parts of genes are the same because of shared descent or for other reasons. The contributions to the book explore these topics systematically. There are chapters on the historical development of the concept of homology and its use in population studies. Other chapters deal with issues of homology in morphological and developmental studies, in behavioural studies, and especially in studies at the level of molecular genetics.

Towards A Theory Of Development

Author: Alessandro Minelli
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191651184
Size: 79.83 MB
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Is it possible to explain and predict the development of living things? What is development? Articulate answers to these seemingly innocuous questions are far from straightforward. To date, no systematic, targeted effort has been made to construct a unifying theory of development. This novel work offers a unique exploration of the foundations of ontogeny by asking how the development of living things should be understood. It explores the key concepts of developmental biology, asks whether general principles of development can be discovered, and examines the role of models and theories. The two editors (one a biologist with long interest in the theoretical aspects of his discipline, the other a philosopher of science who has mainly worked on biological systems) have assembled a team of leading contributors who are representative of the scientific and philosophical community within which a diversity of thoughts are growing, and out of which a theory of development may eventually emerge. They analyse a wealth of approaches to concepts, models and theories of development, such as gene regulatory networks, accounts based on systems biology and on physics of soft matter, the different articulations of evolution and development, symbiont-induced development, as well as the widely discussed concepts of positional information and morphogenetic field, the idea of a 'programme' of development and its critiques, and the long-standing opposition between preformationist and epigenetic conceptions of development. Towards a Theory of Development is primarily aimed at students and researchers in the fields of 'evo-devo', developmental biology, theoretical biology, systems biology, biophysics, and the philosophy of science.

Comparative Developmental Physiology

Author: Stephen J. Warburton
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0195168607
Size: 39.75 MB
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Comparative developmental physiology is a growing discipline examining a diversity of organisms as they transform from single cells to mature, reproductive individuals. This collection of original, innovative essays emerged from a Roundtable on Comparative Developmental Physiology held in Glen Rose, Texas in the summer of 2002. This meeting brought together investigators studying the physiology of developing animals in an effort to identify the field's potential contributions to biology. The participants honed in on common emerging themes and future goals, which are reflected in the chapters within. The nascent community of comparative developmental physiologists was challenged to amplify the power of data collection and tool development by focusing on a few select model organisms, while still employing the power of the broader, more traditional comparative approach. Evolution has provided comparative developmental physiologists with remarkable biological diversity, which they have used to investigate a broad range of questions critical for understanding how life works. This goes beyond the basic nuts and bolts of cellular mechanisms to the functional whole, from the mechanistic level to behavior within and between organisms. The union of developmental biology with the breadth of comparative physiology holds much promise for a deeper understanding of evolutionary processes.

Functions Selection And Mechanisms

Author: Philippe Huneman
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9400753047
Size: 50.76 MB
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This volume handles in various perspectives the concept of function and the nature of functional explanations, topics much discussed since two major and conflicting accounts have been raised by Larry Wright and Robert Cummins’ papers in the 1970s. Here, both Wright’s ‘etiological theory of functions’ and Cummins’ ‘systemic’ conception of functions are refined and elaborated in the light of current scientific practice, with papers showing how the ‘etiological’ theory faces several objections and may in reply be revisited, while its counterpart became ever more sophisticated, as researchers discovered fresh applications for it. Relying on a firm knowledge of the original positions and debates, this volume presents cutting-edge research evincing the complexities that today pertain in function theory in various sciences. Alongside original papers from authors central to the controversy, work by emerging researchers taking novel perspectives will add to the potential avenues to be followed in the future. Not only does the book adopt no a priori assumptions about the scope of functional explanations, it also incorporates material from several very different scientific domains, e.g. neurosciences, ecology, or technology. In general, functions are implemented in mechanisms; and functional explanations in biology have often an essential relation with natural selection. These two basic claims set the stage for this book’s coverage of investigations concerning both ‘functional’ explanations, and the ‘metaphysics’ of functions. It casts new light on these claims, by testing them through their confrontation with scientific developments in biology, psychology, and recent developments concerning the metaphysics of realization. Rather than debating a single theory of functions, this book presents the richness of philosophical issues raised by functional discourse throughout the various sciences.​

Once We All Had Gills

Author: Rudolf A. Raff
Publisher: Indiana University Press
ISBN: 0253007178
Size: 60.45 MB
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In this book, Rudolf A. Raff reaches out to the scientifically queasy, using his life story and his growth as a scientist to illustrate why science matters, especially at a time when many Americans are both suspicious of science and hostile to scientific ways of thinking. Noting that science has too often been the object of controversy in school curriculums and debates on public policy issues ranging from energy and conservation to stem-cell research and climate change, Raff argues that when the public is confused or ill-informed, these issues tend to be decided on religious, economic, and political grounds that disregard the realities of the natural world. Speaking up for science and scientific literacy, Raff tells how and why he became an evolutionary biologist and describes some of the vibrant and living science of evolution. Once We All Had Gills is also the story of evolution writ large: its history, how it is studied, what it means, and why it has become a useful target in a cultural war against rational thought and the idea of a secular, religiously tolerant nation.

Integrating Evolution And Development

Author: Roger Sansom
Publisher: The MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262195607
Size: 38.36 MB
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Scholars argue for the importance of the developmental synthesis, or evo-devo, discussing the history and potential of this growing field of study and presenting specific case studies.