The Shape of Life

Author: Rudolf A. Raff
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022625657X
Format: PDF
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Rudolf Raff is recognized as a pioneer in evolutionary developmental biology. In their 1983 book, Embryos, Genes, and Evolution, Raff and co-author Thomas Kaufman proposed a synthesis of developmental and evolutionary biology. In The Shape of Life, Raff analyzes the rise of this new experimental discipline and lays out new research questions, hypotheses, and approaches to guide its development. Raff uses the evolution of animal body plans to exemplify the interplay between developmental mechanisms and evolutionary patterns. Animal body plans emerged half a billion years ago. Evolution within these body plans during this span of time has resulted in the tremendous diversity of living animal forms. Raff argues for an integrated approach to the study of the intertwined roles of development and evolution involving phylogenetic, comparative, and functional biology. This new synthesis will interest not only scientists working in these areas, but also paleontologists, zoologists, morphologists, molecular biologists, and geneticists.

The Shape of Thought

Author: H. Clark Barrett
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 0199348316
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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'The Shape of Thought' presents a road map for an evolutionary psychology of the twenty-first century. It shows how the brain can be both a complexly specialized organ and a dynamic and flexible self-organizing system, shaped by learning and culture.

Reconstructing the Tree of Life

Author: Trevor R. Hodkinson
Publisher: CRC Press
ISBN: 1420009532
Format: PDF
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To document the world’s diversity of species and reconstruct the tree of life we need to undertake some simple but mountainous tasks. Most importantly, we need to tackle species rich groups. We need to collect, name, and classify them, and then position them on the tree of life. We need to do this systematically across all groups of organisms and because of the biodiversity crisis we need to do it quickly. With contributions from key systematic and taxonomic researchers, Reconstructing the Tree of Life: Taxonomy and Systematics of Species Rich Taxa outlines the core of the problem and explores strategies that bring us closer to its solution. The editors split the book into three parts: introduction and general concepts, reconstructing and using the tree of life, and taxonomy and systematics of species rich groups (case studies). They introduce, with examples, the concept of species rich groups and discuss their importance in reconstructing the tree of life as well as their conservation and sustainable utilization in general. The book highlights how phylogenetic trees are becoming “supersized” to handle species rich groups and the methods that are being developed to deal with the computational complexity of such trees. It discusses factors that have lead some groups to speciate to a staggering degree and also provides case studies that highlight the problems and prospects of dealing with species rich groups in taxonomy. To understand species rich taxa, evolution has set scientists a difficult, but not unattainable, challenge that requires the meshing together of phylogenetics and taxonomy, considerable advances in informatics, improved and increased collecting, training of taxonomists, and significant financial support. This book provides the tools and methods needed to meet that challenge.

The Epistemology of Development Evolution and Genetics

Author: Richard Burian
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521545280
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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These essays examine the developments in three fundamental biological disciplines--embryology, evolutionary biology, and genetics. These disciplines were in conflict for much of the 20th century and the essays in this collection examine key methodological problems within these disciplines and the difficulties faced in overcoming the conflicts between them. Burian skillfully weaves together historical appreciation of the settings within which scientists work, substantial knowledge of the biological problems at stake and the methodological and philosophical issues faced in integrating biological knowledge drawn from disparate sources.

Towards a Theory of Development

Author: Alessandro Minelli
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191651184
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Is it possible to explain and predict the development of living things? What is development? Articulate answers to these seemingly innocuous questions are far from straightforward. To date, no systematic, targeted effort has been made to construct a unifying theory of development. This novel work offers a unique exploration of the foundations of ontogeny by asking how the development of living things should be understood. It explores the key concepts of developmental biology, asks whether general principles of development can be discovered, and examines the role of models and theories. The two editors (one a biologist with long interest in the theoretical aspects of his discipline, the other a philosopher of science who has mainly worked on biological systems) have assembled a team of leading contributors who are representative of the scientific and philosophical community within which a diversity of thoughts are growing, and out of which a theory of development may eventually emerge. They analyse a wealth of approaches to concepts, models and theories of development, such as gene regulatory networks, accounts based on systems biology and on physics of soft matter, the different articulations of evolution and development, symbiont-induced development, as well as the widely discussed concepts of positional information and morphogenetic field, the idea of a 'programme' of development and its critiques, and the long-standing opposition between preformationist and epigenetic conceptions of development. Towards a Theory of Development is primarily aimed at students and researchers in the fields of 'evo-devo', developmental biology, theoretical biology, systems biology, biophysics, and the philosophy of science.

Functions selection and mechanisms

Author: Philippe Huneman
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9400753047
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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This volume handles in various perspectives the concept of function and the nature of functional explanations, topics much discussed since two major and conflicting accounts have been raised by Larry Wright and Robert Cummins’ papers in the 1970s. Here, both Wright’s ‘etiological theory of functions’ and Cummins’ ‘systemic’ conception of functions are refined and elaborated in the light of current scientific practice, with papers showing how the ‘etiological’ theory faces several objections and may in reply be revisited, while its counterpart became ever more sophisticated, as researchers discovered fresh applications for it. Relying on a firm knowledge of the original positions and debates, this volume presents cutting-edge research evincing the complexities that today pertain in function theory in various sciences. Alongside original papers from authors central to the controversy, work by emerging researchers taking novel perspectives will add to the potential avenues to be followed in the future. Not only does the book adopt no a priori assumptions about the scope of functional explanations, it also incorporates material from several very different scientific domains, e.g. neurosciences, ecology, or technology. In general, functions are implemented in mechanisms; and functional explanations in biology have often an essential relation with natural selection. These two basic claims set the stage for this book’s coverage of investigations concerning both ‘functional’ explanations, and the ‘metaphysics’ of functions. It casts new light on these claims, by testing them through their confrontation with scientific developments in biology, psychology, and recent developments concerning the metaphysics of realization. Rather than debating a single theory of functions, this book presents the richness of philosophical issues raised by functional discourse throughout the various sciences.​

Cells Embryos and Evolution

Author: Jon Gerhart
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISBN:
Format: PDF, Docs
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This long awaited core textbook in the study of evolution takes a similar approach to the subject as Roger Lewin's classic text, Human Evolution, but goes a step further. The many important discoveries and new evidence that have emerged since the last edition make this book a timely and necessary addition to any introductory evolution course."

Molecular Biology of the Cell

Author: Bruce Alberts
Publisher: Garland Science
ISBN: 1317563743
Format: PDF, ePub
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As the amount of information in biology expands dramatically, it becomes increasingly important for textbooks to distill the vast amount of scientific knowledge into concise principles and enduring concepts.As with previous editions, Molecular Biology of the Cell, Sixth Edition accomplishes this goal with clear writing and beautiful illustrations. The Sixth Edition has been extensively revised and updated with the latest research in the field of cell biology, and it provides an exceptional framework for teaching and learning. The entire illustration program has been greatly enhanced.Protein structures better illustrate structure–function relationships, icons are simpler and more consistent within and between chapters, and micrographs have been refreshed and updated with newer, clearer, or better images. As a new feature, each chapter now contains intriguing openended questions highlighting “What We Don’t Know,” introducing students to challenging areas of future research. Updated end-of-chapter problems reflect new research discussed in the text, and these problems have been expanded to all chapters by adding questions on developmental biology, tissues and stem cells, pathogens, and the immune system.