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EVOLUTION AND DEVELOPMENT I - developmentalists were...

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EVOLUTION AND DEVELOPMENT I: SIZE AND SHAPE First, some general background to the study of development and evolution. Evolution of organisms involves a change in the developmental program , a change in a series of developmental processes. We often refer to evolution as "descent with modification" and the modification we often notice first is the overall appearance of the organism. This appearance is a result of the development of the organism, thus evolution is intricately involved with development. Embryology played a major role in evolutionary theory in the 19th century, but was largely ignored in the 20th. Development never really became part of the modern synthesis. Some argue that this is due to the lack of communication between geneticists and developmental biologists . The geneticists were concerned with the rules of transmission of genetic material between generations and the
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Unformatted text preview: developmentalists were concerned with cellular changes that led to the transformation of an egg into an adult organism. Mutations in adult phenotype were readily available for the study of genetics, but there were precious few "developmental mutants" that bridged the gap between development and genetics (such mutants were discovered in growing numbers during the formulation of the "Modern Synthesis", and many more discovered later). The general approach is the same as we have taken with the evolution of other traits: development has a genetic basis, if there is genetic variation for the developmental program then development can evolve. We will first take a descriptive approach to evolution and development and next lecture look at some of the more genetic and cellular mechanisms of development....
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