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Linking Genotype and Phenotype in Development and Evolution
Illuminating the processes and patterns that link genotype to phenotype, epigenetics seeks to explain features, characters, and developmental mechanisms that can only be understood in terms of interactions that arise above the level of the gene. With chapters written by leading authorities, this volume offers a broad integrative survey of epigenetics. Approaching this complex subject from a variety of perspectives, it presents a broad, historically grounded view that demonstrates the utility of this approach for understanding complex biological systems in development, disease, and evolution. Chapters cover such topics as morphogenesis and organ formation, conceptual foundations, and cell differentiation, and together demonstrate that the integration of epigenetics into mainstream developmental biology is essential for answering fundamental questions about how phenotypic traits are produced.
This continuing revision of a theoretical edifice the foundations of which were laid in the middle of the nineteenth century--the reexamination of old ideas, proposals of new ones, and the synthesis of the most suitable--shows us how science works, and how scientists have painstakingly built a solid set of explanations for what Darwin called the “grandeur” of life.
Genetic, Epigenetic, Behavioral, and Symbolic Variation in the History of Life
Reliability and Deception in Signaling Systems
Gull chicks beg for food from their parents. Peacocks spread their tails to attract potential mates. Meerkats alert family members of the approach of predators. But are these--and other animals--sometimes dishonest? That's what William Searcy and Stephen Nowicki ask in The Evolution of Animal Communication. They take on the fascinating yet perplexing question of the dependability of animal signaling systems.
The book probes such phenomena as the begging of nesting birds, alarm calls in squirrels and primates, carotenoid coloration in fish and birds, the calls of frogs and toads, and weapon displays in crustaceans. Do these signals convey accurate information about the signaler, its future behavior, or its environment? Or do they mislead receivers in a way that benefits the signaler? For example, is the begging chick really hungry as its cries indicate or is it lobbying to get more food than its brothers and sisters?
Searcy and Nowicki take on these and other questions by developing clear definitions of key issues, by reviewing the most relevant empirical data and game theory models available, and by asking how well theory matches data. They find that animal communication is largely reliable--but that this basic reliability also allows the clever deceiver to flourish. Well researched and clearly written, their book provides new insight into animal communication, behavior, and evolution.
The development of a fully functional placenta was crucial to the evolution of human beings. It is the active interface of the most biologically intimate connection between two living organisms: a mother and her fetus. The Evolution of the Human Placenta discusses everything from the organ’s methods of protecting the fetus from the mother’s own immune system to placental diseases. Starting with some of the earliest events that have constrained or influenced the path of placental evolution in mammals and progressing to the specifics of the human placenta, this book examines modern gestation within an evolutionary framework. Human beings, in terms of evolution, are a successful, rapidly multiplying species. Our reproductive physiology would appear to be functioning quite well. However, human gestation is fraught with many poor outcomes for both the mother and fetus that appear to be—if not unique—far more common in humans than in other mammals. High rates of early pregnancy loss, nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, preeclampsia and related maternal hypertension, and preterm birth are rare or absent in other mammals yet quite typical in humans. Michael L. Power and Jay Schulkin explore more than 100 million years of evolution that led to the human placenta, and in so doing, they help unravel the mysteries of life's earliest moments.
Parasites have evolved independently in numerous animal lineages, and they now make up a considerable proportion of the biodiversity of life. Not only do they impact humans and other animals in fundamental ways, but in recent years they have become a powerful model system for the study of ecology and evolution, with practical applications in disease prevention. Here, in a thoroughly revised and updated edition of his influential earlier work, Robert Poulin provides an evolutionary ecologist's view of the biology of parasites. He sets forth a comprehensive synthesis of parasite evolutionary ecology, integrating information across scales from the features of individual parasites to the dynamics of parasite populations and the structuring of parasite communities.
Evolutionary Ecology of Parasites presents an evolutionary framework for the study of parasite biology, combining theory with empirical examples for a broader understanding of why parasites are as they are and do what they do. An up-to-date synthesis of the field, the book is an ideal teaching tool for advanced courses on the subject. Pointing toward promising directions and setting a research agenda, it will also be an invaluable reference for researchers who seek to extend our knowledge of parasite ecology and evolution.
John Dewey and the Continuity of Nature
John Dewey was the first philosopher to recognize that Darwin’s thesis about natural selection not only required us to change how we think about ourselves and the life forms around us, but also required a markedly different approach to philosophy. Evolution’s First Philosopher shows how Dewey’s arguments arose from his recognition of the continuity of natural selection and mindedness, from which he developed his concept of growth. Growth, for Dewey, has no end beyond itself and forms the basis of a naturalized theory of ethics. While other philosophers gave some attention to evolutionary theory, it was Dewey alone who saw that Darwinism provides the basis for a naturalized theory of meaning. This, in turn, portends a new account of knowledge, ethics, and democracy. To clarify evolution’s conception of natural selection, Jerome A. Popp looks at brain science and examines the relationship between the genome and experience in terms of the contemporary concepts of preparedness and plasticity. This research shows how comprehensive and penetrating Dewey’s thought was in terms of further consequences for the philosophical method entailed by Darwin’s thesis. Dewey’s foresight is further legitimated when Popp places his work within the context of the current thought of Daniel Dennett.
A Life History Perspective
A human female is born, lives her life, and dies within the space of a few decades, but the shape of her life has been strongly influenced by 50 million years of primate evolution and more than 100 million years of mammalian evolution. How the individual female plays out the stages of her life--from infancy, through the reproductive period, to old age--and how these stages have been formed by a long evolutionary process, is the theme of this collection. Written by leading scholars in fields ranging from evolutionary biology to cultural anthropology, these essays together examine what it means to be female, integrating the life histories of marine mammals, monkeys, apes, and humans. The result is a fascinating inquiry into the similarities among the ways females of different species balance the need for survival with their role in reproduction and mothering.
The Evolving Female offers an outlook integrating life history with an intimate examination of female life paths. Behavior, anatomy and physiology, growth and development, cultural identity of women, the individual, and the society are among the topics investigated. In addition to the editors, the contributors are Linda Fedigan, Kathryn Ono, Joanne Reiter, Barbara Smuts, Mariko Hiraiwa-Hasegawa, Mary McDonald Pavelka, Caroline Pond, Robin McFarland, Silvana Borgognini Tarli and Elena Repetto, Gilda Morelli, Patricia Draper, Catherine Panter-Brick, Virginia J. Vitzthum, Alison Jolly, and Beverly McLeod.
Concepts, Methods, and Applications of Selection Experiments
Experimental approaches to evolution provide indisputable evidence of evolution by directly observing the process at work. Experimental evolution deliberately duplicates evolutionary processes—forcing life histories to evolve, producing adaptations to stressful environmental conditions, and generating lineage splitting to create incipient species. This unique volume summarizes studies in experimental evolution, outlining current techniques and applications, and presenting the field’s full range of research—from selection in the laboratory to the manipulation of populations in the wild. It provides work on such key biological problems as the evolution of Darwinian fitness, sexual reproduction, life history, athletic performance, and learning.
Radiation ? Histology ? Biology
About 320 million years ago a group of reptiles known as the synapsids emerged and forever changed Earth's ecological landscapes. This book discusses the origin and radiation of the synapsids from their sail-backed pelycosaur ancestor to their diverse descendants, the therapsids or mammal-like reptiles, that eventually gave rise to mammals. It further showcases the remarkable evolutionary history of the synapsids in the Karoo Basin of South Africa and the environments that existed at the time. By highlighting studies of synapsid bone microstructure, it offers a unique perspective of how such studies are utilized to reconstruct various aspects of biology, such as growth dynamics, biomechanical function, and the attainment of sexual and skeletal maturity. A series of chapters outline the radiation and phylogenetic relationships of major synapsid lineages and provide direct insight into how bone histological analyses have led to an appreciation of these enigmatic animals as once-living creatures. The penultimate chapter examines the early radiation of mammals from their nonmammalian cynodont ancestors, and the book concludes by engaging the intriguing question of when and where endothermy evolved among the therapsids.