The Origin of Animal Body Plans
Neo-Darwinism currently occupies a dominant position in evolutionary thought. While this theory has considerable explanatory power, it is widely recognized as being incomplete in that it lacks a component dealing with individual development, or ontogeny. This is particularly conspicuous in relation to attempts to explain the evolutionary origin of the 35 or so animal body plans, and of the developmental trajectories that generate them. This book examines both the origin of body plans in particular and the evolution of animal development in general. In doing so, it ranges widely, covering topics as diverse as comparative developmental genetics, selection theory and Vendian/Cambrian fossils. Particular emphasis is placed on gene duplication, changes in spatio-temporal gene-expression patterns, internal selection, coevolution of interacting genes, and coadaptation. The book will be of particular interest to students and researchers in evolutionary biology, genetics, paleontology and developmental biology.