The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 47: 467 - 477 (2003)

Vol 47, Issue 7-8

Special Issue: Evolution & Development

The morphogenesis of evolutionary developmental biology

Published: 1 December 2003

Scott F Gilbert

Department of Biology, Martin Research Laboratories, Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania 19081, USA.


The early studies of evolutionary developmental biology (Evo-Devo) come from several sources. Tributaries flowing into Evo-Devo came from such disciplines as embryology, developmental genetics, evolutionary biology, ecology, paleontology, systematics, medical embryology and mathematical modeling. This essay will trace one of the major pathways, that from evolutionary embryology to Evo-Devo and it will show the interactions of this pathway with two other sources of Evo-Devo: ecological developmental biology and medical developmental biology. Together, these three fields are forming a more inclusive evolutionary developmental biology that is revitalizing and providing answers to old and important questions involving the formation of biodiversity on Earth. The phenotype of Evo-Devo is limited by internal constraints on what could be known given the methods and equipment of the time and it has been framed by external factors that include both academic and global politics.

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