Download e-book for iPad: Embryology, Epigenesis and Evolution: Taking Development by Jason Scott Robert

By Jason Scott Robert

ISBN-10: 0521824672

ISBN-13: 9780521824675

Philosophers of technological know-how have tended to prevent the matter of "development" by means of focusing totally on evolutionary biology and, extra lately, on molecular biology and genetics. Jason Scott Robert explores the character of improvement because it pertains to present recommendations in organic thought and perform and analyzes the interrelations among improvement and evolution (evo-devo), a space of resurgent organic inquiry.

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These polygenic changes can be imagined to occur and accumulate over a number of generations, each change involving minor mutations or the revelation of hidden genetic variation, and then being fixed in the population either through drift or selection (or both). The development of bithorax phenocopies so produced could then be ‘taken over’ at the Ultrabithorax locus without dramatic morphological or functional change (Budd 1999: 329). 29 Embryology, Epigenesis, and Evolution An important difference between genetic assimilation and homeotic takeover is that the former is geared toward progressive, gradual genomic control, whereas the latter involves a quantitative shift from downstream to more upstream developmental genes (Budd 1999: 331).

Top: Pigmented surface fish with eyes. Bottom: Unpigmented blind cave fish. Note the other minor differences in morphology (especially the fins) between the two fish. Redrawn and significantly modified from the photographs in Figure 1 in Jeffery (2001: 4). 82 et passim). The lessons of Chapters 3 and 4 are similar: we don’t need genetic programmes or instructions, or even specifically genetic information, in order to understand and explain the developmental effects or evolutionary significance of genes.

Present at the new site: ‘When it comes to the downstream targets of the Hox genes, context is everything, in particular, which other transcription factors are present in the same cell will be a key factor determining the outcome of Hox gene action’ (Akam 1998: R678). The master control gene trope significantly oversells the role of homeobox genes in development; it also tends toward overestimation of the capacities of homeobox genes in effecting evolutionary change. ) Graham Budd (1999: 327, 329–330) has proposed a plausible alternative model of homeobox activity according to which evolutionary change is not initiated or driven by changes in (the timing of) the expression of these genes; rather, given that homeobox genes offer an efficient way to channel developmental information and build particular body plans, Budd proposes that homeobox genes are used post hoc to streamline developmental processes once gradual morphological change has occurred.

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Embryology, Epigenesis and Evolution: Taking Development Seriously by Jason Scott Robert


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