Evolutionary Developmental Biology: Developmental and Genetic Mechanisms of Evolutionary Change


Phenotypic evolution is based on developmental change. Understanding the evolutionary role of developmental and genetic mechanisms requires comparative and experimental analyses of the complex networks that regulate development.

Keywords: development; evolution; phylotypic stage; regulatory networks; comparative approach

Figure 1.

Schematic drawing of Pharyngula, a late embryonic stage characteristic of many vertebrates, with key morphological features labelled.

Figure 2.

Vulva development in nematodes. The top box displays different mechanisms of anchor cell specification exemplified by two nematode genera (Caenorhabditis and panagrolaimus). Later in development, the vulva precursor cells can be patterned by two different types of mechanisms: those based on signalling by the anchor cell and those independent of it. Based on Wolpert L (1998) Principles of Development. Oxford: Oxford University Press; and Félix MA (1999) Evolution of developmental mechanisms in nematodes. Journal of Experimental Zoology285: 3–18.



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Bolker, Jessica A(Apr 2001) Evolutionary Developmental Biology: Developmental and Genetic Mechanisms of Evolutionary Change. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0001061]