Towards a Theory of Development

Paperback | June 1, 2014

EditorAlessandro Minelli, Thomas Pradeu

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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 novelwork 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 withinwhich 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, thedifferent 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 andepigenetic 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.

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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 novelwork offers a unique exploration of the found...

Alessandro Minelli was Professor of Zoology at the University of Padova, Italy, until his retirement in 2011. Following long years of research in biological systematics and phylogenetics, he later moved the focus of his activity towards evolutionary developmental biology. Founding member and former vice-president of the European Societ...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pagesPublished:June 1, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199671435

ISBN - 13:9780199671434

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Table of Contents

1. Alessandro Minelli and Thomas Pradeu: Theories of Development in Biology - Problems and Perspectives2. Thomas Pradeu: Regenerating Theories in Developmental Biology3. Alan Love: The Erotetic Organization of Developmental Biology4. Johannes Jaeger and James Sharpe: On the Concept of Mechanism in Development5. Davide Vecchi and Isaac Hernandez: The Epistemological Resilience of the Concept of Morphogenetic Field6. Stuart Newman: Physico-genetics of Morphogenesis: The Hybrid Nature of Developmental Mechanisms7. Giuseppe Fusco, Roberto Carrer and Emanuele Serrelli: The Landscape Metaphor in Development8. Scott Gilbert and Jonathan Bard: Formalizing Theories of Development: A Fugue on the Orderliness of Change9. Wallace Arthur: General Theories of Evolution and Inheritance, but not Development?10. Jean-Jacques Kupiec: Cell Differentiation Is a Stochastic Process Subjected to Natural Selection11. Michel Morange: From Genes to Gene Regulatory Networks: The Progressive Historical Construction of a Genetic Theory of Development and Evolution12. James Griesemer: Reproduction and Scaffolded Developmental Processes: An Integrated Evolutionary Perspective13. Michel Vervoort: Comparison of Animal and Plant Development: A Right Track to Establish a Theory of Development?14. Armin P. Moczek: Toward a Theory of Development Through a Theory of Developmental Evolution15. Alessandro Minelli: Developmental Disparity16. Lucie Laplane: Identifying Some Theories in Developmental Biology. The Case of the Cancer Stem Cell Theory17. Spencer V. Nyholm and Margaret McFall-Ngai: Animal Development in a Microbial World