Defending evo‐devo: A response to Hoekstra and Coyne

Philosophy of Science 76 (3):335-344 (2009)
The study of evolutionary developmental biology (“evo‐devo”) has recently experienced a dramatic surge in popularity among researchers and theorists concerned with evolution. However, some biologists and philosophers remain skeptical of the claims of evo‐devo. This paper discusses and responds to the recent high profile criticisms of evo‐devo presented by biologists Hopi E. Hoekstra and Jerry A. Coyne. I argue that their objections are unconvincing. Indeed, empirical research supports the main tenets of evo‐devo, including the claim that morphological evolution is the result of cis ‐regulatory change and the distinction that evo‐devo draws between morphological and physiological traits. *Received January 2008; revised March 2009. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45221; e‐mail:
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DOI 10.1086/649808
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