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Specific to papers included in Developmental Systems Theory (DST) is the belief that the study of development requires a systems-level model. Such a model would abstract away from the specific biological details of any particular developmental process in order to isolate the general properties of developing systems.  Contrasting with Developmental Modularity, DST maintains that identifying the function of individual developmental modules at the cellular and molecular levels is intractably complicated and is incapable of representing the structure found at the abstract systems-level, systems properties are emergent. However, reflecting an internal dispute, the systems studied are either individual developing organisms (expressing particular phenotypes) or systems of ecologically-coupled populations of developing organisms (as they co-evolve with each other).

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  1. Gennaro Auletta (2011). Cognitive Biology: Dealing with Information From Bacteria to Minds. Oxford University Press, Usa.
    Machine generated contents note: -- 1. Quantum Mechanics as a General Framework -- 2. Classical and Quantum Information and Entropy -- 3. The Brain: An Outlook -- 4. Vision -- 5. Dealing with Target's Motion and Our Own Movement -- 6. Complexity: A Necessary Condition -- 7. General Features of Life -- 8. The Organism as a Semiotic and Cybernetic System -- 9. Phylogeny -- 10. Ontogeny -- 11. Epigeny -- 12. Representational Semiotics -- 13. The Brain as an Information-Control (...)
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  2. Christopher J. Austin (2015). The Dispositional Genome: Primus Inter Pares. Biology and Philosophy 30 (2):227-246.
    According to the proponents of Developmental Systems Theory and the Causal Parity Thesis, the privileging of the genome as “first among equals” with respect to the development of phenotypic traits is more a reflection of our own heuristic prejudice than of ontology - the underlying causal structures responsible for that specified development no more single out the genome as primary than they do other broadly “environmental” factors. Parting with the methodology of the popular responses to the Thesis, this paper offers (...)
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  3. F. Bailly, F. Gaill & R. Mosseri (1991). A Dynamical System for Biological Development: The Case of Caenorhabditis Elegans. Acta Biotheoretica 39 (3-4):167-184.
    We show how a simple nonlinear dynamical system (the discrete quadratic iteration on the unit segment) can be the basis for modelling the embryogenesis process. Such an approach, even though being crude, can nevertheless prove to be useful when looking with the two main involved processes:i) on one hand the cell proliferation under successive divisions ii) on the other hand, the differentiation between cell lineages. We illustrate this new approach in the case of Caenorhabditis elegans by looking at the early (...)
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  4. Majid Bani-Yaghoub & David E. Amundsen (2008). Study and Simulation of Reaction–Diffusion Systems Affected by Interacting Signaling Pathways. Acta Biotheoretica 56 (4):315-328.
    Possible effects of interaction (cross-talk) between signaling pathways is studied in a system of Reaction–Diffusion (RD) equations. Furthermore, the relevance of spontaneous neurite symmetry breaking and Turing instability has been examined through numerical simulations. The interaction between Retinoic Acid (RA) and Notch signaling pathways is considered as a perturbation to RD system of axon-forming potential for N2a neuroblastoma cells. The present work suggests that large increases to the level of RA–Notch interaction can possibly have substantial impacts on neurite outgrowth and (...)
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  5. Denis Barabé & Joachim Vieth (1979). Le Concept de Fusion En Morphologie Vegetale Chez Payer Et Chez Van Tieghem. Acta Biotheoretica 28 (3):204-216.
    The meaning of the concept of fusion is discussed in relation with the works of Payer and those of Van Tieghem. It is pointed out that there is a difference, at the theoretical level, between the concept of fusion congénitale as defined by Payer and the concept of concrescence congénitale formulated by Van Tieghem. The former is inobservable by definition, while the latter deals with intercalary growth. For Van Tieghem, anatomy can prove the existence of fusion, even if we do (...)
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  6. Anouk Barberousse (2010). The Role of Self-Organization in Developmental Systems Theory and the Neo-Darwinian, Theory of Evolution. Biological Theory 5 (3):202-205.
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  7. Anouk Barberousse, Francesca Merlin & Thomas Pradeu (2010). Introduction: Reassessing Developmental Systems Theory. Biological Theory 5 (3):199-201.
    The Developmental Systems Theory (DST) presented by its proponents as a challenging approach in biology is aimed at transforming the workings of the life sciences from both a theoretical and experimental point of view (see, in particular, Oyama [1985] 2000; Oyama et al. 2001). Even though some may have the impression that the enthusiasm surrounding DST has faded in very recent years, some of the key concepts, ideas, and visions of DST have in fact pervaded biology and philosophy of biology. (...)
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  8. Jonathan Bard (2010). A Systems Biology View of Evolutionary Genetics. Bioessays 32 (7):559-563.
  9. Jonathan Bard (1989). What's Next in Developmental Systems?Organogenesis of the Kidney. By L. Sax�N (1987). Cambridge University Press. Pp. 173. �25. [REVIEW] Bioessays 11 (2-3):76-77.
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  10. Gillian Barker (1993). Models of Biological Change: Implications of Three Cases of "Lamrckian" Change. In Perspectives in Ethology 10: Behavior and Evolution. 229-248.
  11. Martin Barker (1987). Susan Oyama, The Ontogeny of Information. Radical Philosophy 45:49.
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  12. Pierre-Alain Braillard (forthcoming). Systems Biology and the Mechanistic Framework. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences.
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  13. Ann Burlein (2005). The Productive Power of Ambiguity: Rethinking Homosexuality Through the Virtual and Developmental Systems Theory. Hypatia 20 (1):21-53.
    This paper juxtaposes Deleuze's notion of the virtual alongside Oyama's notion of a developmental system in order to explore the promises and perils of thinking bodily identity as indeterminate at a time when new technologies render bodily ambiguity increasingly productive of both economic profit and power relations.
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  14. Brett Calcott (2014). Engineering and Evolvability. Biology and Philosophy 29 (3):293-313.
    Comparing engineering to evolution typically involves adaptationist thinking, where well-designed artifacts are likened to well-adapted organisms, and the process of evolution is likened to the process of design. A quite different comparison is made when biologists focus on evolvability instead of adaptationism. Here, the idea is that complex integrated systems, whether evolved or engineered, share universal principles that affect the way they change over time. This shift from adaptationism to evolvability is a significant move for, as I argue, we can (...)
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  15. Brett Calcott (2013). Why How and Why Aren't Enough: More Problems with Mayr's Proximate-Ultimate Distinction. Biology and Philosophy 28 (5):767-780.
    Like Laland et al., I think Mayr’s distinction is problematic, but I identify a further problem with it. I argue that Mayr’s distinction is a false dichotomy, and obscures an important question about evolutionary change. I show how this question, once revealed, sheds light on some debates in evo-devo that Laland et al.’s analysis cannot, and suggest that it provides a different view about how future integration between biological disciplines might proceed.
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  16. Athel Cornish-Bowden (2006). Putting the Systems Back Into Systems Biology. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 49 (4):475-489.
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  17. Kim J. Dale & Olivier Pourquié (2000). A Clock‐Work Somite. Bioessays 22 (1):72-83.
    Somites are transient structures which represent the most overt segmental feature of the vertebrate embryo. The strict temporal regulation of somitogenesis is of critical developmental importance since many segmental structures adopt a periodicity based on that of the somites. Until recently, the mechanisms underlying the periodicity of somitogenesis were largely unknown. Based on the oscillations of c-hairy1 and lunatic fringe RNA, we now have evidence for an intrinsic segmentation clock in presomitic cells. Translation of this temporal periodicity into a spatial (...)
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  18. Jamie A. Davies (2002). Do Different Branching Epithelia Use a Conserved Developmental Mechanism? Bioessays 24 (10):937-948.
  19. G. R. de Beer (1930). Embryology and Evolution. Journal of Philosophical Studies 5 (19):482-484.
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  20. Jose F. de Celis (2003). Pattern Formation in the Drosophila Wing: The Development of the Veins. Bioessays 25 (5):443-451.
  21. Arnold De Loof (1992). Problems and Paradigms. All Animals Develop From a Blastula: Consequences of an Undervalued Definition for Thinking on Development. Bioessays 14 (8):573-575.
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  22. François Delaportex (1983). Theories of Osteogenesis in the Eighteenth Century. Journal of the History of Biology 16 (3):343 - 360.
  23. Chao Deng (2005). Interactions Between Genetic and Environmental Factors Determine Direction of Population Lateralization. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (4):598-598.
    Direction of the embyro's head rotation is determined by asymmetrical expression of several genes (such as shh, Nodal, lefty, and FGF8) in Hensen's node. This genetically determined head-turning bias provides a base for light-aligned population lateralization in chicks, in which the direction of the lateralization is determined by genetic factors and the degree of the lateralization is determined by environmental factors.
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  24. Herman Denis (1994). A Parallel Between Development and Evolution: Germ Cell Recruitment by the Gonads. Bioessays 16 (12):933-938.
  25. Guy Dove (2012). Grammar as a Developmental Phenomenon. Biology and Philosophy 27 (5):615-637.
    More and more researchers are examining grammar acquisition from theoretical perspectives that treat it as an emergent phenomenon. In this essay, I argue that a robustly developmental perspective provides a potential explanation for some of the well-known crosslinguistic features of early child language: the process of acquisition is shaped in part by the developmental constraints embodied in von Baer’s law of development. An established model of development, the Developmental Lock, captures and elucidates the probabilistic generalizations at the heart of von (...)
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  26. Gabriel Dover (2000). How Genomic and Developmental Dynamics Affect Evolutionary Processes. Bioessays 22 (12):1153-1159.
  27. Denis Duboule (1992). The Vertebrate Limb: A Model System to Study the Hox/Hom Gene Network During Development and Evolution. Bioessays 14 (6):375-384.
  28. F. Duchesneau (1985). Embryology in the 18th Century: S. Roe's Interpretation]. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 7 (2).
  29. John Dupr (2012). Processes of Life: Essays in the Philosophy of Biology. OUP Oxford.
    John Dupr explores recent revolutionary developments in biology and considers their relevance for our understanding of human nature and society. He reveals how the advance of genetic science is changing our view of the constituents of life, and shows how an understanding of microbiology will overturn standard assumptions about the living world.
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  30. John Dupré (2010). Developmental Systems Theory. The Philosophers' Magazine (50):38-39.
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  31. Bernardino Fantini (2000). L'embryologie, la 'géographie chimique' de la cellule et la synthèse entre morphologie et chimie (1930-1950). History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 22 (3):353 - 380.
    Chemical embryology was born in 1931 with the publication of Chemical Embryology by Joseph Needham. In the following two decades it became an innovative research project aiming at the description of the construction of the embryological structure and differentiation in biochemical terms. This research programme produced a vast amount of experimental evidence and theories on the chemical dynamics of the embryo: particularly chemical characterization of the zygote and the developing embryo, the chemical exchanges between the nucleus and the cytoplasm, the (...)
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  32. Gary Felsenfeld (2014). The Evolution of Epigenetics. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 57 (1):132-148.
    Since the early days of embryology, a central puzzle for biologists has been how a fertilized egg can execute a clearly defined and reproducible program that leads ultimately to a complex organism. It was clear that all of the information necessary to create the adult must already reside in the zygote, but how that information was translated into a complex organism was obscure. Even as recently as the late 1940s, the molecular mechanisms associated with early development were unknown and, in (...)
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  33. John R. Finnerty (2005). Did Internal Transport, Rather Than Directed Locomotion, Favor the Evolution of Bilateral Symmetry in Animals? Bioessays 27 (11):1174-1180.
  34. Alan Fogel, Maria C. D. P. Lyra & Jaan Valsiner (eds.) (1997). Dynamics and Indeterminism in Developmental and Social Processes. L. Erlbaum.
    One of the most profound insights of the dynamic systems perspective is that new structures resulting from the developmental process do not need to be planned in advance, nor is it necessary to have these structures represented in genetic or neurological templates prior to their emergence. Rather, new structures can emerge as components of the individual and the environment self-organize; that is, as they mutually constrain each other's actions, new patterns and structures may arise. This theoretical possibility brings into developmental (...)
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  35. Loïc Forest & Jacques Demongeot (2008). A General Formalism for Tissue Morphogenesis Based on Cellular Dynamics and Control System Interactions. Acta Biotheoretica 56 (1):51-74.
    Morphogenesis is a key process in developmental biology. An important issue is the understanding of the generation of shape and cellular organisation in tissues. Despite of their great diversity, morphogenetic processes share common features. This work is an attempt to describe this diversity using the same formalism based on a cellular description. Tissue is seen as a multi-cellular system whose behaviour is the result of all constitutive cells dynamics. Morphogenesis is then considered as a spatiotemporal organization of cells activities. We (...)
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  36. Loïc Forest, Jaime San Martín, Fernando Padilla, Fabrice Chassat, Françoise Giroud & Jacques Demongeot (2004). Morphogenetic Processes: Application to Cambial Growth Dynamics. Acta Biotheoretica 52 (4):415-438.
    Both the physiological and the pathological morphogenetic processes that we can meet in embryogenesis, neogenesis and degenerative dysgenesis present common features: they are ruled by three different kinds of mechanisms, one related to cell migration, the second to cell differentiation and the third to cell proliferation. We deal here with an application to the cambial growth which essentially involves the third type of mechanism.Woody plants produce secondary tissue (secondary xylem and phloem) from a meristematic tissue called vascular cambium, responsible for (...)
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  37. L. R. Franklin-Hall (2015). Explaining Causal Selection with Explanatory Causal Economy: Biology and Beyond. In P.-A. Braillard & C. Malaterre (eds.), Explanation in Biology: An Enquiry into the Diversity of Explanatory Patterns in the Life Sciences. Springer 413-438.
    Among the factors necessary for the occurrence of some event, which of these are selectively highlighted in its explanation and labeled as causes — and which are explanatorily omitted, or relegated to the status of background conditions? Following J. S. Mill, most have thought that only a pragmatic answer to this question was possible. In this paper I suggest we understand this ‘causal selection problem’ in causal-explanatory terms, and propose that explanatory trade-offs between abstraction and stability can provide a principled (...)
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  38. Giuseppe Fusco (2001). How Many Processes Are Responsible for Phenotypic Evolution? Evolution & Development 3 (4):279-286.
    In addressing phenotypic evolution, this article reconsiders natural selection, random drift, developmental constraints, and internal selection in the new extended context of evolutionary developmental biology. The change of perspective from the "evolution of phenotypes" toward an "evolution of ontogenies" (evo-devo perspective) affects the reciprocal relationships among these different processes. Random drift and natural selection are sibling processes: two forms of post-productional sorting among alternative developmental trajectories, the former random, the latter nonrandom. Developmental constraint is a compound concept; it contains even (...)
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  39. Philippe Gagnon (2009). Les Limites du Vivant Sont-Elles Riches D’Une Leçon? Contribution À L’Étude du Déterminisme Morphique. Eikasia. Revista de Filosofía 27 (August):155-186.
    Freedom is first apprehended as the pursuit of an activity which implies the choice to defend a thesis among other possible ones. This translation of the problem of freedom in an articulate language presupposes a complex nervous system and sensory apparatuses which we take for granted. In this study, I try to explore the undergrounds of the problem of freedom along with the suggestion that the notion of coding could enable one to bridge nature and the mind. When organisms invent, (...)
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  40. Frietson Galis & Johan A. J. Metz (2003). Anti‐Cancer Selection as a Source of Developmental and Evolutionary Constraints. Bioessays 25 (11):1035-1039.
  41. Charles Galperin (1998). From Cell Lineage to Developmental Genetics. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 20 (3):301 - 350.
    One of the bases of developmental genetics resides in the alliance of clonal analysis and genetic analysis. But the study of cell lineage — cells which have their genealogical relationship — and the study of the cellular labelled progeny, have their own history. We have tried to follow it since its foundation with C.O. Whitman (1878) and E.B. Wilson (1892). A.H. Sturtevant (1929) and C. Stern (1936) the first tools to study the 'cell lineage' in Drosophila. We stress the contribution (...)
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  42. Alfred Gierer (2012). The Hydra Model - a Model for What? International Journal of Developmental Biology 56:437-445.
    The introductory personal remarks refer to my motivations for choosing research projects, and for moving from physics to molecular biology and then to development, with Hydra as a model system. Historically, Trembley’s discovery of Hydra regeneration in 1744 was the begin¬ning of developmental biology as we understand it, with passionate debates about preformation versus de novo generation, mechanisms versus organisms. In fact, seemingly conflicting bottom-up and top-down concepts are both required in combination to understand development. In modern terms, this means (...)
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  43. Alfred Gierer (1981). Generation of Biological Patterns and Form: Some Physical, Mathematical and Logical Aspects. Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology 37 (1):1-48.
    While many different mechanisms contribute to the generation of spatial order in biological development, the formation of morphogenetic fields which in turn direct cell responses giving rise to pattern and form are of major importance and essential for embryogenesis and regeneration. Most likely the fields represent concentration patterns of substances produced by molecular kinetics. Short range autocatalytic activation in conjunction with longer range “lateral” inhibition or depletion effects is capable of generating such patterns (Gierer and Meinhardt, 1972). Non-linear reactions are (...)
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  44. Alfred Gierer, S. Berking, H. Bode, C. N. David, K. Flick, G. Hansmann, H. Schaller & E. Trenkner (1972). Regeneration of Hydra From Aggregated Cells. Nature New Biology 239:98-101.
    • Aggregates of previously isolated cells of Hydra are capable, under suitable solvant conditions, of regeneration forming complete animals. In a first stage, ecto- and endodermal cells sort out, producing the bilayered hollow structure characteristic of Hydra tissue; thereafter, heads are formed (even if the original cell preparation contained no head cells), eventually leading to the separation of normal animals with head, body column and foot. Hydra appears to be the highest type of organism that allows for regeneration of the (...)
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  45. Alfred Gierer & Hans Meinhardt (1972). A Theory of Biological Pattern Formation. Kybernetik, Continued as Biological Cybernetics 12 (1):30 - 39.
    The paper addresses the formation of striking patterns within originally near-homogenous tissue, the process prototypical for embryology, and represented in particularly purist form by cut sections of hydra regenerating, by internal reorganisation of the pre-existing tissue, a complete animal with head and foot. The essential requirements are autocatalytic, self-enhancing activation, combined with inhibitory or depletion effects of wider range – “lateral inhibition”. Not only de-novo-pattern formation, but also well known, striking features of developmental regulation such as induction, inhibition, and proportion (...)
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  46. Scott F. Gilbert (2011). Expanding the Temporal Dimensions of Developmental Biology: The Role of Environmental Agents in Establishing Adult-Onset Phenotypes. Biological Theory 6 (1):65-72.
  47. Scott F. Gilbert (2003). Evo-Devo, Devo-Evo, and Devgen-Popgen. Biology and Philosophy 18 (2):347-352.
  48. Peter Godfrey-Smith (2000). Explanatory Symmetries, Preformation, and Developmental Systems Theory. Philosophy of Science 67 (3):331.
    Some central ideas associated with developmental systems theory (DST) are outlined for non-specialists. These ideas concern the nature of biological development, the alleged distinction between "genetic" and "environmental" traits, the relations between organism and environment, and evolutionary processes. I also discuss some criticisms of the DST approach.
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  49. Peter Godfrey-Smith (2000). Philosophy of Biology, Psychology, and Neuroscience-The Developmental Systems Perspective in the Philosophy of Biology-Explanatory Symmetries, Preformation, and Developmental Systems Theory. Philosophy of Science 67 (3).
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  50. Peter Godfrey-Smith & James Griesemer (2000). Philosophy of Biology, Psychology, and Neuroscience-The Developmental Systems Perspective in the Philosophy of Biology-Development, Culture, and the Units of Inheritance. Philosophy of Science 67 (3).
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