Evolutionary innovations and developmental resources: From stability to variation and back again

Philosophy of Science 75 (5):861-873 (2008)
Will a synthesis of developmental and evolutionary biology require a focus on the role of nongenetic resources in evolution? Nongenetic variation may exist but be hidden because the phenotypes are stable (developmentally canalized) under certain background conditions. In this case, those differences may come to play important roles in evolution when background conditions change. If this is so, then a focus on the way that developmental resources are made reliable, and the ways in which reliability fails, may prove to be of crucial importance to linking developmental and evolutionary biology. †To contact the author, please write to: 208 Hovland Hall, Philosophy Department, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331‐3902; e‐mail: jonathan.kaplan@oregonstate.edu.
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