Publications and drafts by topic: Evo-Devo
Ehud Lamm & Eva Jablonka, Essay Review of Integrating Evolution and Development: From Theory to Practice, Edited by Roger Sansom and Robert N. Brandon. In Perspectives in Biology and Medicine Vol. 51, No. 4, Autumn, 2008 [Page]
This volume joins a growing list of books, monographs, and proceedings from scientific meetings attempting to consolidate the wide spectrum of approaches emphasizing the role of development in evolution into a coherent and productive synthesis, often called evo-devo. Evo-devo is seen as a replacement or amendment of the modern synthesis that has dominated the field of evolution since the 1940s and which, as even its architects confessed, was fundamentally incomplete because development remained outside its theoretical framework (Mayr and Provine 1980). As the volume attests, there is now a strong feeling that the time is ripe for the consolidation of evo-devo, and that the field is mature enough so that mapping the theoretical terrain and experimental approaches is both feasible and scientifically productive. Now is an appropriate time to try and weave the strands of reasoning leading to the developmental perspective and offer a synthesis.
Ehud Lamm & Eva Jablonka, The Nurture of Nature: Hereditary Plasticity in Evolution. In Philosophical Psychology 21 (3):305–319, 2008 [Page]
The dichotomy between Nature and Nurture, which has been dismantled within the framework of development, remains embodied in the notions of plasticity and evolvability. We argue that plasticity and evolvability, like development and heredity, are neither dichotomous nor distinct: the very same mechanisms may be involved in both, and the research perspective chosen depends to a large extent on the type of problem being explored and the kinds of questions being asked. Epigenetic inheritance leads to transgenerationally extended plasticity, and developmentally-induced heritable epigenetic variations provide additional foci for selection that can lead to evolutionary change. Moreover, hereditary innovations may result from developmentally induced large-scale genomic repatterning events, which are akin to Goldschmidtian “systemic mutations”. The epigenetic mechanisms involved in repatterning can be activated by both environmental and genomic stress, and lead to phylogenetic as well as ontogenetic changes. Hence, the effects and the mechanisms of plasticity directly contribute to evolvability.
Ehud Lamm, Conceptual and methodological biases in network models. In Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 2009;1178(1 Natural Genetic Engineering and Natural Genome Editing):291-304, 2009 [Page|PDF ]
Many natural and biological phenomena can be depicted as networks. Theoretical and empirical analyses of networks have become prevalent. I discuss theoretical biases involved in the delineation of biological networks. The network perspective is shown to dissolve the distinction between regulatory architecture and regulatory state, consistent with the theoretical impossibility of distinguishing a priori between “program” and “data.” The evolutionary significance of the dynamics of trans-generational and interorganism regulatory networks is explored and implications are presented for understanding the evolution of the biological categories
development-heredity, plasticity-evolvability, and epigenetic-genetic.
Ehud Lamm, The genome as a developmental organ. In Journal of Physiology 592 (11):2237-2244 (2014), 2014 [Page]
This paper applies the conceptual toolkit of Evolutionary Developmental Biology (evo‐devo) to the evolution of the genome and the role of the genome in organism development. This challenges both
the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis, the dominant view in evolutionary theory for much of the 20th century, and the typically unreflective analysis of heredity by evo‐devo. First, the history of the marginalization of applying system‐thinking to the genome is described. Next, the suggested framework is presented. Finally, its application to the evolution of genome modularity, the evolution of induced mutations, the junk DNA versus ENCODE debate, the role of drift in genome evolution, and the relationship between genome dynamics and symbiosis with microorganisms are briefly discussed.
Ehud Lamm, Forever united: the co-evolution of language and normativity. In D. Dor, C. Knight, & J. Lewis (Eds.), The social origins of language: Studies in the evolution of language. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014 [Page|PDF ]
Ehud Lamm and Eva Jablonka, Lamarck’s Two Legacies: A 21st-century Perspective on Use-Disuse and the Inheritance of Acquired Characters. In Interdisciplina. vol 3 (5): January-April 2015, 2015 [Page|PDF ]
Lamarck has left many legacies for future generations of biologists. His best known legacy was an explicit suggestion, developed in the Philosophie zoologique (PZ), that the effects of use and disuse (acquired characters) can be inherited and can drive species transformation. This suggestion was formulated as two laws, which we refer to as the law of biological plasticity and the law of phenotypic continuity. We put these laws in their historical context and distinguish between Lamarck’s key insights and later neo-Lamarckian interpretations of his ideas. We argue that Lamarck’s emphasis on the role played by the organization of living beings and his physiological model of reproduction are directly relevant to 21st-century concerns, and illustrate this by discussing intergenerational genomic continuity and cultural evolution.