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Evolution and Morphogenesis: The Regulator Hypothesis

  • Gerald M. Edelman
Part of the Stadler Genetics Symposia Series book series (SGSS)

Abstract

The quotation from a lucid and prescient paper by Ledyard Stebbins (1968) sets my theme: I am concerned here with confronting the problem of relating developmental genetics to evolution at the level of what he calls epigenetic sequences during development. These are programmed sequences occuring during ontogeny in which the action of a gene follows precisely upon that of an otherwise unrelated gene in temporal sequences that are prolonged. These sequences are precisely those confronted by the developmental biologist when he attempts to understand morphology—pattern formation in histogenesis and form. The fact that these sequences concern gene expression entails a molecular approach to this most fundamental problem of developmental biology. At the same time, interpretation of this approach must be consistent with the evolution of both animal macroscopic form and of microscopic complexity. The issue may be focused succinctly in two complementary questions:
  1. (1)

    How can a one dimensional genetic code specify a three dimensional organism? (I shall call this the developmental genetic question)

     
  2. (2)

    How can the mechanism proposed to answer this question be reconciled with the large changes in form that can occur in relatively short evolutionary times? (The evolutionary question)

     

Keywords

Primary Process Germ Layer Primitive Streak Rous Sarcoma Virus Polysialic Acid 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerald M. Edelman
    • 1
  1. 1.The Rockefeller UniversityNew YorkUSA

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