Evolution Evolving

Kevin N. Lala, Tobias Uller, Nathalie Feiner, Marcus Feldman, Scott F. Gilbert

Evolution Evolving
Princeton University Press
United States
2 January 2025

Evolution Evolving

Kevin N. Lala, Tobias Uller, Nathalie Feiner, Marcus Feldman, Scott F. Gilbert

A new account of the central role developmental processes play in evolution

A new scientific view of evolution is emerging-one that challenges and expands our understanding of how evolution works. Recent research demonstrates that organisms differ greatly in how effective they are at evolving. Whether and how each organism adapts and diversifies depends critically on the mechanistic details of how that organism operates-its development, physiology, and behavior. That is because the evolutionary process itself has evolved over time, and continues to evolve. The scientific understanding of evolution is evolving too, with groundbreaking new ways of explaining evolutionary change. In this book, a group of leading biologists draw on the latest findings in evolutionary genetics and evo-devo, as well as novel insights from studies of epigenetics, symbiosis, and inheritance, to examine the central role that developmental processes play in evolution.

Written in an accessible style, and illustrated with fascinating examples of natural history, the book presents recent scientific discoveries that expand evolutionary biology beyond the classical view of gene transmission guided by natural selection. Without undermining the central importance of natural selection and other Darwinian foundations, new developmental insights indicate that all organisms possess their own characteristic sets of evolutionary mechanisms. The authors argue that a consideration of developmental phenomena is needed for evolutionary biologists to generate better explanations for adaptation and biodiversity. This book provides a new vision of adaptive evolution.

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