, Volume 59, Issue 1, pp 81-86
Date: 05 Dec 2010

Roger Sansom and Robert N. Brandon (eds.): Integrating Evolution and Development: From Theory to Practice

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One might compare organismal evolution and organismal development to an old couple, of which the two partners had drifted apart over the years, experienced a profound crisis in which they didn’t talk to one another, but in the end have found their way back to a happy relationship.

For the longest time, the study of life was not compartmentalized into the separate and occasionally competing fields of investigation that we have today, but took place as part of a larger endeavor of studying the natural world. Both ‘evolution’ and ‘development’ featured in this endeavor as general terms denoting change in the living domain and the terms were used largely interchangeably. (The Latin ancestor of the word ‘evolution’ means ‘to unfold’ or ‘to develop’ in the sense of unfolding an intrinsically present potential; see, e.g., Bowler 2003: 8.) In the nineteenth century, however, the two terms began to drift apart as each acquired a technical meaning in the context of the development of biology as a ...