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Forms of Becoming:
The Evolutionary Biology of Development
Alessandro Minelli

Hardcover | 2009 | $38.95 | £32.95 | ISBN: 9780691135687
248 pp. | 6 x 9 | 17 line illus.
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What comes first, form or function? Trumpeted as the future of biological science, evolutionary developmental biology (or "evo-devo") answers this fundamental question by showing how evolution controls the development of organisms. In Forms of Becoming, Alessandro Minelli, a leading international figure in the field, takes an in-depth and comprehensive look at the history and key issues of evo-devo. Spirited and insightful, this book focuses on the innovative ways animal organisms evolve through competition and cooperation.

Minelli provides a complete overview of conceptual developments--from the fierce nineteenth-century debates between the French biologists Geoffroy and Cuvier, who fought over questions of form versus function--to modern theories of how genes dictate body formation. The book's wide-ranging topics include expression patterns of genes, developmental bias, the role of developmental genes, and genetic determinism. Drawing from diverse examples, such as the anatomy of butterflies, giraffes, Siamese twins, and corals, Minelli extends and reformulates important concepts from development, evolution, and the interplay between the two.

Presenting the accessible and cutting-edge ideas of evolutionary developmental biology, Forms of Becoming is fascinating reading for anyone interested in genetics and the animal form.


"Minelli provides his distinctive perspective of the field of evolutionary developmental biology. Whether or not readers agree with himon specific points, he raisesmany interesting questions that might well be fuel for long discussions on a summer evening. Overall, this book is stimulating reading and will provide much food for thought."--Christian Peter Klingenberg, Trends in Ecology and Evolution

"I enjoyed reading Forms of Becoming. It added depth to my knowledge of the historical background of comparative morphological studies, and it regrounded my appreciation of the diversity of evolutionary modifications in development across animals. I recommend this book as entry-level reading for non-'evo-devo' folks as well as the many developmental and evolutionary biologists whose research involves phenotype. I also recommend this thought-provoking book to graduate students. . . . In summary, Minelli promotes an integrative view that is timely and immensely valuable."--Paula Mabee, BioScience

"This book is a fascinating reading. It will appeal to anyone that has an interest in animal form and development, and also in genetics."--Evelyne Bremond-Hoslet, Mammalia


"Minelli takes up important messages from development, evolution, and the interaction between the two. Interesting, unique, and well-written, this book is a great read from a master of the subject."--Wallace Arthur, National University of Ireland

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Translation funded by SEPS--Segretariato Europeo per le Pubblicazioni Scientifiche

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File created: 7/11/2017

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