The rise of evolutionary developmental biology was not the progressive isolation and characterization of developmental genes and gene networks. Many obstacles had to be overcome: the idea that all genes were more or less involved in development; the evidence that developmental processes in insects had nothing in common with those of vertebrates. Different lines of research converged toward the creation of evolutionary developmental biology, giving this field of research its present heterogeneity. This does not prevent all those working in the field from sharing the conviction that a precise characterization of evolutionary variations is required to fully understand the evolutionary process. Some evolutionary developmental biologists directly challenge the Modern Synthesis. I propose some ways to reconcile these apparently opposed visions of evolution. The turbulence seen in evolutionary developmental biology reflects the present entry of history into biology.
Stern, David L; Dawes-Hoang, Rachel E
Michael Akam has been awarded the 2007 Kowalevsky medal for his many research accomplishments in the area of evolutionary developmental biology. We highlight three tributaries of Michaels contribution to evolutionary developmental biology. First, he has made major contributions to our understanding of development of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. Second, he has maintained a consistent focus on several key problems in evolutionary developmental biology, including the evolving role of Hox genes in arthropods and, more recently, the evolution of segmentation mechanisms. Third, Michael has written a series of influential reviews that have integrated progress in developmental biology into an evolutionary perspective. Michael has also made a large impact on the field through his effective mentorship style, his selfless promotion of younger colleagues, and his leadership of the University Museum of Zoology at Cambridge and the European community of evolutionary developmental biologists.
Ferrier, David E K
Annelids (the segmented worms) have a long history in studies of animal developmental biology, particularly with regards to their cleavage patterns during early development and their neurobiology. With the relatively recent reorganisation of the phylogeny of the animal kingdom, and the distinction of the super-phyla Ecdysozoa and Lophotrochozoa, an extra stimulus for studying this phylum has arisen. As one of the major phyla within Lophotrochozoa, Annelida are playing an important role in deducing the developmental biology of the last common ancestor of the protostomes and deuterostomes, an animal from which >98% of all described animal species evolved.
Röttinger, Eric; Lowe, Christopher J
Hemichordates are a deuterostome phylum, the sister group to echinoderms, and closely related to chordates. They have thus been used to gain insights into the origins of deuterostome and chordate body plans. Developmental studies of this group have a long and distinguished history. Recent improvements in animal husbandry, functional tool development and genomic resources have resulted in novel developmental data from several species in this group. In this Primer, we introduce representative hemichordate species with contrasting modes of development and summarize recent findings that are beginning to yield important insights into deuterostome developmental mechanisms.
Technau, Ulrich; Steele, Robert E
There is growing interest in the use of cnidarians (corals, sea anemones, jellyfish and hydroids) to investigate the evolution of key aspects of animal development, such as the formation of the third germ layer (mesoderm), the nervous system and the generation of bilaterality. The recent sequencing of the Nematostella and Hydra genomes, and the establishment of methods for manipulating gene expression, have inspired new research efforts using cnidarians. Here, we present the main features of cnidarian models and their advantages for research, and summarize key recent findings using these models that have informed our understanding of the evolution of the developmental processes underlying metazoan body plan formation.
McClay, David R.
Embryos of the echinoderms, especially those of sea urchins and sea stars, have been studied as model organisms for over 100 years. The simplicity of their early development, and the ease of experimentally perturbing this development, provides an excellent platform for mechanistic studies of cell specification and morphogenesis. As a result, echinoderms have contributed significantly to our understanding of many developmental mechanisms, including those that govern the structure and design of gene regulatory networks, those that direct cell lineage specification, and those that regulate the dynamic morphogenetic events that shape the early embryo. PMID:21652646
Tauber, Alfred I
Gilbert and Epel present a new approach to developmental biology: embryogenesis must be understood within the full context of the organism's environment. Instead of an insular embryo following a genetic blueprint, this revised program maintains that embryogenesis is subject to inputs from the environment that generate novel genetic variation with dynamic consequences for development. Beyond allelic variation of structural genes and of regulatory loci, plasticity-derived epigenetic variation completes the triad of the major types of variation required for evolution. Developmental biology and ecology, disciplines that have previously been regarded as distinct, are presented here as fully integrated under the rubric of "eco-devo," and from this perspective, which highlights how the environment not only selects variation, it helps construct it, another synthesis with evolutionary biology must also be made, "eco-evo-devo." This second integration has enormous implications for expanding evolution theory, inasmuch as the Modern Synthesis (Provine 1971), which combined classical genetics and Darwinism in the mid-20th century, did not account for the role of development in evolution. The eco-evo-devo synthesis thus portends a major theoretical inflection in evolutionary biology. Following a description of these scientific developments, comment is offered as to how this new integrated approach might be understood within the larger shifts in contemporary biology.
Embryonic development is underpinned by ∼50 core processes that drive morphogenesis, growth, patterning and differentiation, and each is the functional output of a complex molecular network. Processes are thus the natural and parsimonious link between genotype and phenotype and the obvious focus for any discussion of biological change. Here, the implications of this approach are explored. One is that many features of developmental change can be modeled as mathematical graphs, or sets of connected triplets of the general form
Jeffery, William R
Important contributions to evolutionary developmental biology have been made using the comparative organismal approach. As examples, I describe insights obtained from studies of Molgula ascidians and Astyanax cavefish.
Friedman, William E; Diggle, Pamela K
Much has been written of the early history of comparative embryology and its influence on the emergence of an evolutionary developmental perspective. However, this literature, which dates back nearly a century, has been focused on metazoans, without acknowledgment of the contributions of comparative plant morphologists to the creation of a developmental view of biodiversity. We trace the origin of comparative plant developmental morphology from its inception in the eighteenth century works of Wolff and Goethe, through the mid nineteenth century discoveries of the general principles of leaf and floral organ morphogenesis. Much like the stimulus that von Baer provided as a nonevolutionary comparative embryologist to the creation of an evolutionary developmental view of animals, the comparative developmental studies of plant morphologists were the basis for the first articulation of the concept that plant (namely floral) evolution results from successive modifications of ontogeny. Perhaps most surprisingly, we show that the first person to carefully read and internalize the remarkable advances in the understanding of plant morphogenesis in the 1840s and 1850s is none other than Charles Darwin, whose notebooks, correspondence, and (then) unpublished manuscripts clearly demonstrate that he had discovered the developmental basis for the evolutionary transformation of plant form.
Friedman, William E.; Diggle, Pamela K.
Much has been written of the early history of comparative embryology and its influence on the emergence of an evolutionary developmental perspective. However, this literature, which dates back nearly a century, has been focused on metazoans, without acknowledgment of the contributions of comparative plant morphologists to the creation of a developmental view of biodiversity. We trace the origin of comparative plant developmental morphology from its inception in the eighteenth century works of Wolff and Goethe, through the mid nineteenth century discoveries of the general principles of leaf and floral organ morphogenesis. Much like the stimulus that von Baer provided as a nonevolutionary comparative embryologist to the creation of an evolutionary developmental view of animals, the comparative developmental studies of plant morphologists were the basis for the first articulation of the concept that plant (namely floral) evolution results from successive modifications of ontogeny. Perhaps most surprisingly, we show that the first person to carefully read and internalize the remarkable advances in the understanding of plant morphogenesis in the 1840s and 1850s is none other than Charles Darwin, whose notebooks, correspondence, and (then) unpublished manuscripts clearly demonstrate that he had discovered the developmental basis for the evolutionary transformation of plant form. PMID:21515816
Marcellini, Sylvain; González, Favio; Sarrazin, Andres F; Pabón-Mora, Natalia; Benítez, Mariana; Piñeyro-Nelson, Alma; Rezende, Gustavo L; Maldonado, Ernesto; Schneider, Patricia Neiva; Grizante, Mariana B; Da Fonseca, Rodrigo Nunes; Vergara-Silva, Francisco; Suaza-Gaviria, Vanessa; Zumajo-Cardona, Cecilia; Zattara, Eduardo E; Casasa, Sofia; Suárez-Baron, Harold; Brown, Federico D
Famous for its blind cavefish and Darwin's finches, Latin America is home to some of the richest biodiversity hotspots of our planet. The Latin American fauna and flora inspired and captivated naturalists from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including such notable pioneers such as Fritz Müller, Florentino Ameghino, and Léon Croizat who made a significant contribution to the study of embryology and evolutionary thinking. But, what are the historical and present contributions of the Latin American scientific community to Evo-Devo? Here, we provide the first comprehensive overview of the Evo-Devo laboratories based in Latin America and describe current lines of research based on endemic species, focusing on body plans and patterning, systematics, physiology, computational modeling approaches, ecology, and domestication. Literature searches reveal that Evo-Devo in Latin America is still in its early days; while showing encouraging indicators of productivity, it has not stabilized yet, because it relies on few and sparsely distributed laboratories. Coping with the rapid changes in national scientific policies and contributing to solve social and health issues specific to each region are among the main challenges faced by Latin American researchers. The 2015 inaugural meeting of the Pan-American Society for Evolutionary Developmental Biology played a pivotal role in bringing together Latin American researchers eager to initiate and consolidate regional and worldwide collaborative networks. Such networks will undoubtedly advance research on the extremely high genetic and phenotypic biodiversity of Latin America, bound to be an almost infinite source of amazement and fascinating findings for the Evo-Devo community.
A complete understanding of life involves how organisms are able to function in their environment and how they arise. Understanding how organisms arise involves both their evolution and development. Thus to completely comprehend living things, biology must study their function, development and evolution. Previous proposals for standardized…
This work aims at constructing a semiotic framework for an expanded evolutionary synthesis grounded on Peirce's universal categories and the six space/time/function relations [Taborsky, E., 2004. The nature of the sign as a WFF--a well-formed formula, SEED J. (Semiosis Evol. Energy Dev.) 4 (4), 5-14] that integrate the Lamarckian (internal/external) and Darwinian (individual/population) cuts. According to these guide lines, it is proposed an attempt to formalize developmental systems theory by using the notion of evolving developing agents (EDA) that provides an internalist model of a general transformative tendency driven by organism's need to cope with environmental uncertainty. Development and evolution are conceived as non-programmed open-ended processes of information increase where EDA reach a functional compromise between: (a) increments of phenotype's uniqueness (stability and specificity) and (b) anticipation to environmental changes. Accordingly, changes in mutual information content between the phenotype/environment drag subsequent changes in mutual information content between genotype/phenotype and genotype/environment at two interwoven scales: individual life cycle (ontogeny) and species time (phylogeny), respectively. Developmental terminal additions along with increment minimization of developmental steps must be positively selected.
Moczek, Armin P; Sears, Karen E; Stollewerk, Angelika; Wittkopp, Patricia J; Diggle, Pamela; Dworkin, Ian; Ledon-Rettig, Cristina; Matus, David Q; Roth, Siegfried; Abouheif, Ehab; Brown, Federico D; Chiu, Chi-Hua; Cohen, C Sarah; Tomaso, Anthony W De; Gilbert, Scott F; Hall, Brian; Love, Alan C; Lyons, Deirdre C; Sanger, Thomas J; Smith, Joel; Specht, Chelsea; Vallejo-Marin, Mario; Extavour, Cassandra G
Evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo) has undergone dramatic transformations since its emergence as a distinct discipline. This paper aims to highlight the scope, power, and future promise of evo-devo to transform and unify diverse aspects of biology. We articulate key questions at the core of eleven biological disciplines-from Evolution, Development, Paleontology, and Neurobiology to Cellular and Molecular Biology, Quantitative Genetics, Human Diseases, Ecology, Agriculture and Science Education, and lastly, Evolutionary Developmental Biology itself-and discuss why evo-devo is uniquely situated to substantially improve our ability to find meaningful answers to these fundamental questions. We posit that the tools, concepts, and ways of thinking developed by evo-devo have profound potential to advance, integrate, and unify biological sciences as well as inform policy decisions and illuminate science education. We look to the next generation of evolutionary developmental biologists to help shape this process as we confront the scientific challenges of the 21st century.
Lieberman, Daniel E; Hall, Brian K
Recent developments in evolutionary biology have conflicting implications for our understanding of the developmental bases of microevolutionary processes. On the one hand, Darwinian theory predicts that evolution occurs mostly gradually and incrementally through selection on small-scale, heritable changes in phenotype within populations. On the other hand, many discoveries in evolutionary developmental biology--quite a few based on comparisons of distantly related model organisms--suggest that relatively simple transformations of developmental pathways can lead to dramatic, rapid change in phenotype. Here I review the history of and bases for gradualist versus punctuationalist views from a developmental perspective, and propose a framework with which to reconcile them. Notably, while tinkering with developmental pathways can underlie large-scale transformations in body plan, the phenotypic effect of these changes is often modulated by the complexity of the genetic and epigenetic contexts in which they develop. Thus the phenotypic effects of mutations of potentially large effect can manifest themselves rapidly, but they are more likely to emerge more incrementally over evolutionary time via transitional forms as natural selection within populations acts on their expression. To test these hypotheses, and to better understand how developmental shifts underlie microevolutionary change, future research needs to be directed at understanding how complex developmental networks, both genetic and epigenetic, structure the phenotypic effects of particular mutations within populations of organisms.
Perez, Kathryn E; Hiatt, Anna; Davis, Gregory K; Trujillo, Caleb; French, Donald P; Terry, Mark; Price, Rebecca M
The American Association for the Advancement of Science 2011 report Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education encourages the teaching of developmental biology as an important part of teaching evolution. Recently, however, we found that biology majors often lack the developmental knowledge needed to understand evolutionary developmental biology, or "evo-devo." To assist in efforts to improve evo-devo instruction among undergraduate biology majors, we designed a concept inventory (CI) for evolutionary developmental biology, the EvoDevoCI. The CI measures student understanding of six core evo-devo concepts using four scenarios and 11 multiple-choice items, all inspired by authentic scientific examples. Distracters were designed to represent the common conceptual difficulties students have with each evo-devo concept. The tool was validated by experts and administered at four institutions to 1191 students during preliminary (n = 652) and final (n = 539) field trials. We used student responses to evaluate the readability, difficulty, discriminability, validity, and reliability of the EvoDevoCI, which included items ranging in difficulty from 0.22-0.55 and in discriminability from 0.19-0.38. Such measures suggest the EvoDevoCI is an effective tool for assessing student understanding of evo-devo concepts and the prevalence of associated common conceptual difficulties among both novice and advanced undergraduate biology majors.
Kuraku, Shigehiro; Feiner, Nathalie; Keeley, Sean D; Hara, Yuichiro
Phylogenetic approaches are indispensable in any comparative molecular study involving multiple species. These approaches are in increasing demand as the amount and availability of DNA sequence information continues to increase exponentially, even for organisms that were previously not extensively studied. Without the sound application of phylogenetic concepts and knowledge, one can be misled when attempting to infer ancestral character states as well as the timing and order of evolutionary events, both of which are frequently exerted in evolutionary developmental biology. The ignorance of phylogenetic approaches can also impact non-evolutionary studies and cause misidentification of the target gene or protein to be examined in functional characterization. This review aims to promote tree-thinking in evolutionary conjecture and stress the importance of a sense of time scale in cross-species comparisons, in order to enhance the understanding of phylogenetics in all biological fields including developmental biology. To this end, molecular phylogenies of several developmental regulatory genes, including those denoted as "cryptic pan-vertebrate genes", are introduced as examples.
Hilbrant, Maarten; Damen, Wim G M; McGregor, Alistair P
Spiders belong to the chelicerates, which is an arthropod group that branches basally from myriapods, crustaceans and insects. Spiders are thus useful models with which to investigate whether aspects of development are ancestral or derived with respect to the arthropod common ancestor. Moreover, they serve as an important reference point for comparison with the development of other metazoans. Therefore, studies of spider development have made a major contribution to advancing our understanding of the evolution of development. Much of this knowledge has come from studies of the common house spider, Parasteatoda tepidariorum. Here, we describe how the growing number of experimental tools and resources available to study Parasteatoda development have provided novel insights into the evolution of developmental regulation and have furthered our understanding of metazoan body plan evolution.
Olsson, Lennart; Levit, Georgy S; Hossfeld, Uwe
Evolutionary theory has been likened to a "universal acid" (Dennett 1995) that eats its way into more and more areas of science. Recently, developmental biology has been infused by evolutionary concepts and perspectives, and a new field of research--evolutionary developmental biology--has been created and is often called EvoDevo for short. However, this is not the first attempt to make a synthesis between these two areas of biology. In contrast, beginning right after the publication of Darwin's Origin in 1859, Ernst Haeckel formulated his biogenetic law in 1872, famously stating that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. Haeckel was in his turn influenced by pre-Darwinian thinkers such as Karl Ernst von Baer, who had noted that earlier developmental stages show similarities not seen in the adults. In this review, written for an audience of non-specialists, we first give an overview of the history of EvoDevo, especially the tradition emanating from Haeckel and other comparative embryologists and morphologists, which has often been neglected in discussions about the history of EvoDevo and evolutionary biology. Here we emphasize contributions from Russian and German scientists to compensate for the Anglo-American bias in the literature. In Germany, the direct influence of Ernst Haeckel was felt particularly in Jena, where he spent his entire career as a professor, and we give an overview of the "Jena school" of evolutionary morphology, with protagonists such as Oscar Hertwig, Ludwig Plate, and Victor Franz, who all developed ideas that we would nowadays think of as belonging to EvoDevo. Franz ideas about "biometabolic modi" are similar to those of a Russian comparative morphologist that visited Jena repeatedly, A. N. Sewertzoff, who made important contributions to what we now call heterochrony research--heterochrony meaning changes in the relative timing of developmental events. His student I. I. Schmalhausen became an important contributor to the synthetic theory of
Olsson, Lennart; Levit, Georgy S.; Hoßfeld, Uwe
Evolutionary theory has been likened to a “universal acid” (Dennett 1995) that eats its way into more and more areas of science. Recently, developmental biology has been infused by evolutionary concepts and perspectives, and a new field of research—evolutionary developmental biology—has been created and is often called EvoDevo for short. However, this is not the first attempt to make a synthesis between these two areas of biology. In contrast, beginning right after the publication of Darwin’s Origin in 1859, Ernst Haeckel formulated his biogenetic law in 1872, famously stating that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. Haeckel was in his turn influenced by pre-Darwinian thinkers such as Karl Ernst von Baer, who had noted that earlier developmental stages show similarities not seen in the adults. In this review, written for an audience of non-specialists, we first give an overview of the history of EvoDevo, especially the tradition emanating from Haeckel and other comparative embryologists and morphologists, which has often been neglected in discussions about the history of EvoDevo and evolutionary biology. Here we emphasize contributions from Russian and German scientists to compensate for the Anglo-American bias in the literature. In Germany, the direct influence of Ernst Haeckel was felt particularly in Jena, where he spent his entire career as a professor, and we give an overview of the “Jena school” of evolutionary morphology, with protagonists such as Oscar Hertwig, Ludwig Plate, and Victor Franz, who all developed ideas that we would nowadays think of as belonging to EvoDevo. Franz ideas about “biometabolic modi” are similar to those of a Russian comparative morphologist that visited Jena repeatedly, A. N. Sewertzoff, who made important contributions to what we now call heterochrony research—heterochrony meaning changes in the relative timing of developmental events. His student I. I. Schmalhausen became an important contributor to the
Hiatt, Anna; Davis, Gregory K; Trujillo, Caleb; Terry, Mark; French, Donald P; Price, Rebecca M; Perez, Kathryn E
To examine how well biology majors have achieved the necessary foundation in evolution, numerous studies have examined how students learn natural selection. However, no studies to date have examined how students learn developmental aspects of evolution (evo-devo). Although evo-devo plays an increasing role in undergraduate biology curricula, we find that instruction often addresses development cursorily, with most of the treatment embedded within instruction on evolution. Based on results of surveys and interviews with students, we suggest that teaching core concepts (CCs) within a framework that integrates supporting concepts (SCs) from both evolutionary and developmental biology can improve evo-devo instruction. We articulate CCs, SCs, and foundational concepts (FCs) that provide an integrative framework to help students master evo-devo concepts and to help educators address specific conceptual difficulties their students have with evo-devo. We then identify the difficulties that undergraduates have with these concepts. Most of these difficulties are of two types: those that are ubiquitous among students in all areas of biology and those that stem from an inadequate understanding of FCs from developmental, cell, and molecular biology.
Sommer, Ralf J; Mayer, Melanie G
The evolutionary conservation of developmental mechanisms is a truism in biology, but few attempts have been made to integrate development with evolutionary theory and ecology. To work toward such a synthesis, we summarize studies in the nematode model Pristionchus pacificus, focusing on the development of the dauer, a stress-resistant, alternative larval stage. Integrative approaches combining molecular and genetic principles of development with natural variation and ecological studies in wild populations have identified a key role for a developmental switch mechanism in dauer development and evolution, one that involves the nuclear hormone receptor DAF-12. DAF-12 is a crucial regulator and convergence point for different signaling inputs, and its function is conserved among free-living and parasitic nematodes. Furthermore, DAF-12 is the target of regulatory loops that rely on novel or fast-evolving components to control the intraspecific competition of dauer larvae. We propose developmental switches as paradigms for understanding the integration of development, evolution, and ecology at the molecular level.
Fritzsch, B.; Beisel, K. W.; Bermingham, N. A.
This brief overview shows that a start has been made to molecularly dissect vertebrate ear development and its evolutionary conservation to the development of the insect hearing organ. However, neither the patterning process of the ear nor the patterning process of insect sensory organs is sufficiently known at the moment to provide more than a first glimpse. Moreover, hardly anything is known about otocyst development of the cephalopod molluscs, another triploblast lineage that evolved complex 'ears'. We hope that the apparent conserved functional and cellular components present in the ciliated sensory neurons/hair cells will also be found in the genes required for vertebrate ear and insect sensory organ morphogenesis (Fig. 3). Likewise, we expect that homologous pre-patterning genes will soon be identified for the non-sensory cell development, which is more than a blocking of neuronal development through the Delta/Notch signaling system. Generation of the apparently unique ear could thus represent a multiplication of non-sensory cells by asymmetric and symmetric divisions as well as modification of existing patterning process by implementing novel developmental modules. In the final analysis, the vertebrate ear may come about by increasing the level of gene interactions in an already existing and highly conserved interactive cascade of bHLH genes. Since this was apparently achieved in all three lineages of triploblasts independently (Fig. 3), we now need to understand how much of the morphogenetic cascades are equally conserved across phyla to generate complex ears. The existing mutations in humans and mice may be able to point the direction of future research to understand the development of specific cell types and morphologies in the formation of complex arthropod, cephalopod, and vertebrate 'ears'.
Uddenberg, Daniel; Akhter, Shirin; Ramachandran, Prashanth; Sundström, Jens F; Carlsbecker, Annelie
Conifers, Ginkgo, cycads and gnetophytes comprise the four groups of extant gymnosperms holding a unique position of sharing common ancestry with the angiosperms. Comparative studies of gymnosperms and angiosperms are the key to a better understanding of ancient seed plant morphologies, how they have shifted over evolution to shape modern day species, and how the genes governing these morphologies have evolved. However, conifers and other gymnosperms have been notoriously difficult to study due to their long generation times, inaccessibility to genetic experimentation and unavailable genome sequences. Now, with three draft genomes from spruces and pines, rapid advances in next generation sequencing methods for genome wide expression analyses, and enhanced methods for genetic transformation, we are much better equipped to address a number of key evolutionary questions relating to seed plant evolution. In this mini-review we highlight recent progress in conifer developmental biology relevant to evo-devo questions. We discuss how genome sequence data and novel techniques might allow us to explore genetic variation and naturally occurring conifer mutants, approaches to reduce long generation times to allow for genetic studies in conifers, and other potential upcoming research avenues utilizing current and emergent techniques. Results from developmental studies of conifers and other gymnosperms in comparison to those in angiosperms will provide information to trace core molecular developmental control tool kits of ancestral seed plants, but foremost they will greatly improve our understanding of the biology of conifers and other gymnosperms in their own right.
Uddenberg, Daniel; Akhter, Shirin; Ramachandran, Prashanth; Sundström, Jens F.; Carlsbecker, Annelie
Conifers, Ginkgo, cycads and gnetophytes comprise the four groups of extant gymnosperms holding a unique position of sharing common ancestry with the angiosperms. Comparative studies of gymnosperms and angiosperms are the key to a better understanding of ancient seed plant morphologies, how they have shifted over evolution to shape modern day species, and how the genes governing these morphologies have evolved. However, conifers and other gymnosperms have been notoriously difficult to study due to their long generation times, inaccessibility to genetic experimentation and unavailable genome sequences. Now, with three draft genomes from spruces and pines, rapid advances in next generation sequencing methods for genome wide expression analyses, and enhanced methods for genetic transformation, we are much better equipped to address a number of key evolutionary questions relating to seed plant evolution. In this mini-review we highlight recent progress in conifer developmental biology relevant to evo-devo questions. We discuss how genome sequence data and novel techniques might allow us to explore genetic variation and naturally occurring conifer mutants, approaches to reduce long generation times to allow for genetic studies in conifers, and other potential upcoming research avenues utilizing current and emergent techniques. Results from developmental studies of conifers and other gymnosperms in comparison to those in angiosperms will provide information to trace core molecular developmental control tool kits of ancestral seed plants, but foremost they will greatly improve our understanding of the biology of conifers and other gymnosperms in their own right. PMID:26579190
Wagner, Günter P; Laubichler, Manfred D
This paper reviews the scientific career of Rupert Riedl and his contributions to evolutionary biology. Rupert Riedl, a native of Vienna, Austria, began his career as a marine biologist who made important contributions to the systematics and anatomy of major invertebrate groups, as well as to marine ecology. When he assumed a professorship at the University of North Carolina in 1968, the predominant thinking in evolutionary biology focused on population genetics, to the virtual exclusion of most of the rest of biology. In this atmosphere Riedl developed his "systems theory" of evolution, which emphasizes the role of functional and developmental integration in limiting and enabling adaptive evolution by natural selection. The main objective of this theory is to account for the observed patterns of morphological evolution, such as the conservation of body plans. In contrast to other "alternative" theories of evolution, Riedl never denied the importance of natural selection as the driving force of evolution, but thought it necessary to contextualize natural selection with the organismal boundary conditions of adaptation. In Riedl's view development is the most important factor besides natural selection in shaping the pattern and processes of morphological evolution.
Background Two indicators of a clade’s success are its diversity (number of included species) and its disparity (extent of morphospace occupied by its members). Many large genera show high diversity with low disparity, while others such as Euphorbia and Drosophila are highly diverse but also exhibit high disparity. The largest genera are often characterized by key innovations that often, but not necessarily, coincide with their diagnostic apomorphies. In terms of their contribution to speciation, apomorphies are either permissive (e.g. flightlessness) or generative (e.g. nectariferous spurs). Scope Except for Drosophila, virtually no genus among those with the highest diversity or disparity includes species currently studied as model species in developmental genetics or evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo). An evo-devo approach is, however, potentially important to understand how diversity and disparity could rapidly increase in the largest genera currently accepted by taxonomists. The most promising directions for future research and a set of key questions to be addressed are presented in this review. Conclusions From an evo-devo perspective, the evolution of clades with high diversity and/or disparity can be addressed from three main perspectives: (1) evolvability, in terms of release from previous constraints and of the presence of genetic or developmental conditions favouring multiple parallel occurrences of a given evolutionary transition and its reversal; (2) phenotypic plasticity as a facilitator of speciation; and (3) modularity, heterochrony and a coupling between the complexity of the life cycle and the evolution of diversity and disparity in a clade. This simple preliminary analysis suggests a set of topics that deserve priority for scrutiny, including the possible role of saltational evolution in the origination of high diversity and/or disparity, the predictability of morphological evolution following release from a former constraint, and
Lacquaniti, Francesco; Ivanenko, Yuri P.; d’Avella, Andrea; Zelik, Karl E.; Zago, Myrka
The identification of biological modules at the systems level often follows top-down decomposition of a task goal, or bottom-up decomposition of multidimensional data arrays into basic elements or patterns representing shared features. These approaches traditionally have been applied to mature, fully developed systems. Here we review some results from two other perspectives on modularity, namely the developmental and evolutionary perspective. There is growing evidence that modular units of development were highly preserved and recombined during evolution. We first consider a few examples of modules well identifiable from morphology. Next we consider the more difficult issue of identifying functional developmental modules. We dwell especially on modular control of locomotion to argue that the building blocks used to construct different locomotor behaviors are similar across several animal species, presumably related to ancestral neural networks of command. A recurrent theme from comparative studies is that the developmental addition of new premotor modules underlies the postnatal acquisition and refinement of several different motor behaviors in vertebrates. PMID:23730285
Perez, Kathryn E.; Hiatt, Anna; Davis, Gregory K.; Trujillo, Caleb; French, Donald P.; Terry, Mark; Price, Rebecca M.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science 2011 report "Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education" encourages the teaching of developmental biology as an important part of teaching evolution. Recently, however, we found that biology majors often lack the developmental knowledge needed to understand evolutionary…
Riegner, Mark F
As understood historically, typological thinking has no place in evolutionary biology since its conceptual framework is viewed as incompatible with population thinking. In this article, I propose that what I describe as dynamic typological thinking has been confused with, and has been overshadowed by, a static form of typological thinking. This conflation results from an inability to grasp dynamic typological thinking due to the overlooked requirement to engage our cognitive activity in an unfamiliar way. Thus, analytical thinking alone is unsuited to comprehend the nature of dynamic typological thinking. Over 200 years ago, J. W. von Goethe, in his Metamorphosis of Plants (1790) and other writings, introduced a dynamic form of typological thinking that has been traditionally misunderstood and misrepresented. I describe in detail Goethe's phenomenological methodology and its contemporary value in understanding morphological patterns in living organisms. Furthermore, contrary to the implications of static typological thinking, dynamic typological thinking is perfectly compatible with evolutionary dynamics and, if rightly understood, can contribute significantly to the still emerging field of evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo).
Geary, David C.; Bjorklund, David F.
Describes evolutionary developmental psychology as the study of the genetic and ecological mechanisms that govern the development of social and cognitive competencies common to all human beings and the epigenetic (gene-environment interactions) processes that adapt these competencies to local conditions. Outlines basic assumptions and domains of…
Dongen, S V
The role of developmental instability (DI), as measured by fluctuating asymmetry (FA), in evolutionary biology has been the focus of a wealth of research for more than half a century. In spite of this long period and many published papers, our current state of knowledge reviewed here only allows us to conclude that patterns are heterogeneous and that very little is known about the underlying causes of this heterogeneity. In addition, the statistical properties of FA as a measure of DI are only poorly grasped because of a general lack of understanding of the underlying mechanisms that drive DI. If we want to avoid that this area of research becomes abandoned, more efforts should be made to understand the observed heterogeneity, and attempts should be made to develop a unifying statistical protocol. More specifically, and perhaps most importantly, it is argued here that more attention should be paid to the usefulness of FA as a measure of DI since many factors might blur this relationship. Furthermore, the genetic architecture, associations with fitness and the importance of compensatory growth should be investigated under a variety of stress situations. In addition, more focus should be directed to the underlying mechanisms of DI as well as how these processes map to the observable phenotype. These insights could yield more efficient statistical models and a unified approach to the analysis of patterns in FA and DI. The study of both DI and canalization is indispensable to obtain better insights in their possible common origin, especially because both have been suggested to play a role in both micro- and macro-evolutionary processes.
King, Ashley C; Bjorklund, David F
The field of evolutionary developmental psychology can potentially broaden the horizons of mainstream evolutionary psychology by combining the principles of Darwinian evolution by natural selection with the study of human development, focusing on the epigenetic effects that occur between humans and their environment in a way that attempts to explain how evolved psychological mechanisms become expressed in the phenotypes of adults. An evolutionary developmental perspective includes an appreciation of comparative research and we, among others, argue that contrasting the cognition of humans with that of nonhuman primates can provide a framework with which to understand how human cognitive abilities and intelligence evolved. Furthermore, we argue that several
Hiatt, Anna; Davis, Gregory K.; Trujillo, Caleb; Terry, Mark; French, Donald P.; Price, Rebecca M.; Perez, Kathryn E.
To examine how well biology majors have achieved the necessary foundation in evolution, numerous studies have examined how students learn natural selection. However, no studies to date have examined how students learn developmental aspects of evolution (evo-devo). Although evo-devo plays an increasing role in undergraduate biology curricula, we…
Griffiths, Paul E
The integration of concepts from evolutionary developmental biology, such as the homology concept, into developmental psychobiology has great potential. However, evolutionary developmental biology is an attempt to integrate evolutionary and developmental explanation and developmental psychobiology has traditionally been concerned to avoid conflating these two kinds of explanation. This article examines a recent attempt to explain development in terms of "inherited information." The resulting explanation is an evolutionary explanation of development of a kind typical of evolutionary developmental biology. But its proponent mistakes it for an actual developmental explanation. Any integration of evolutionary developmental biology and developmental psychobiology should pay close attention to longstanding concerns about conflating evolutionary and developmental explanations.
Lesoway, Maryna P
What is the future of evolutionary developmental biology? This question and more were discussed at the inaugural meeting for the Pan American Society for Evolutionary Developmental Biology, held August 5-9, 2015, in Berkeley, California, USA. More than 300 participants attended the first meeting of the new society, representing the current diversity of Evo-Devo. Speakers came from throughout the Americas, presenting work using an impressive range of study systems, techniques, and approaches. Current research draws from themes including the role of gene regulatory networks, plasticity and the role of the environment, novelty, population genetics, and regeneration, using new and emerging techniques as well as traditional tools. Multiple workshops and a discussion session covered subjects both practical and theoretical, providing an opportunity for members to discuss the current challenges and future directions for Evo-Devo. The excitement and discussion generated over the course of the meeting demonstrates the current dynamism of the field, suggesting that the future of Evo-Devo is bright indeed.
Riyahi, Kumars; Shimeld, Sebastian M
Several animal lineages, including the vertebrates, have evolved sophisticated eyes with lenses that refract light to generate an image. The nearest invertebrate relatives of the vertebrates, such as the ascidians (sea squirts) and amphioxus, have only basic light detecting organs, leading to the widely-held view that the vertebrate lens is an innovation that evolved in early vertebrates. From an embryological perspective the lens is different from the rest of the eye, in that the eye is primarily of neural origin while the lens derives from a non-neural ectodermal placode which invaginates into the developing eye. How such an organ could have evolved has attracted much speculation. Recently, however, molecular developmental studies of sea squirts have started to suggest a possible evolutionary origin for the lens. First, studies of the Pax, Six, Eya and other gene families have indicated that sea squirts have areas of non-neural ectoderm homologous to placodes, suggesting an origin for the embryological characteristics of the lens. Second, the evolution and regulation of the betagamma-crystallins has been studied. These form one of the key crystallin gene families responsible for the transparency of the lens, and regulatory conservation between the betagamma-crystallin gene in the sea squirt Ciona intestinalis and the vertebrate visual system has been experimentally demonstrated. These data, together with knowledge of the morphological, physiological and gene expression similarities between the C. intestinalis ocellus and vertebrate retina, have led us to propose a hypothesis for the evolution of the vertebrate lens and integrated vertebrate eye via the co-option and combination of ancient gene regulatory networks; one controlling morphogenetic aspects of lens development and one controlling the expression of a gene family responsible for the biophysical properties of the lens, with the components of the retina having evolved from an ancestral photoreceptive organ
Gilbert, Scott F; Bosch, Thomas C G; Ledón-Rettig, Cristina
The integration of research from developmental biology and ecology into evolutionary theory has given rise to a relatively new field, ecological evolutionary developmental biology (Eco-Evo-Devo). This field integrates and organizes concepts such as developmental symbiosis, developmental plasticity, genetic accommodation, extragenic inheritance and niche construction. This Review highlights the roles that developmental symbiosis and developmental plasticity have in evolution. Developmental symbiosis can generate particular organs, can produce selectable genetic variation for the entire animal, can provide mechanisms for reproductive isolation, and may have facilitated evolutionary transitions. Developmental plasticity is crucial for generating novel phenotypes, facilitating evolutionary transitions and altered ecosystem dynamics, and promoting adaptive variation through genetic accommodation and niche construction. In emphasizing such non-genomic mechanisms of selectable and heritable variation, Eco-Evo-Devo presents a new layer of evolutionary synthesis.
I provide a brief discussion of the present/future of Evo-Devo, reviewing opinions expressed by colleagues with different opinions/backgrounds about what Evo-Devo should be and the potential of this flourishing field and combining them with an analysis of the recent, and excellent inaugural meeting of the Pan-American Society for Evo-Devo. As an advocate of Evo-Devo and its enormous future potential, I feel that despite our different views and fields of research, we Evo-Devoists are all in the same boat and should try our best to make sure this potential is fully expressed. Therefore, I call attention to some concerns raised by other colleagues, which in my opinion are demonstrated by a quantitative analysis of the titles/abstracts of the 56 talks at this meeting. This analysis is very simple, in order to maintain the needed objectivity and minimize bias. Yet, it is profound in its implications, precisely because of its simplicity and because this meeting is clearly a major landmark for the development/future directions of Evo-Devo. The analysis shows that terms associated with development at the more molecular/genetic level were vastly overrepresented compared to terms related to evolution or to development at the whole organism level. That is, it provides support for the idea that current Evo-Devo is mainly focused on Devo, and that Devo itself is largely focused on "Geno," that is, on molecular/genetic developmental studies. This trend seems to be leading towards a loss of focus on the whole organism and on the major microevolutionary and macroevolutionary questions/theories that remain to be solved/tested.
Laland, Kevin N.; Odling-Smee, John; Feldman, Marcus W.; Kendal, Jeremy
In spite of its success, Neo-Darwinism is faced with major conceptual barriers to further progress, deriving directly from its metaphysical foundations. Most importantly, neo-Darwinism fails to recognize a fundamental cause of evolutionary change, “niche construction”. This failure restricts the generality of evolutionary theory, and introduces inaccuracies. It also hinders the integration of evolutionary biology with neighbouring disciplines, including ecosystem ecology, developmental biology, and the human sciences. Ecology is forced to become a divided discipline, developmental biology is stubbornly difficult to reconcile with evolutionary theory, and the majority of biologists and social scientists are still unhappy with evolutionary accounts of human behaviour. The incorporation of niche construction as both a cause and a product of evolution removes these disciplinary boundaries while greatly generalizing the explanatory power of evolutionary theory. PMID:21572912
Levit, Georgy S; Hossfeld, Uwe; Olsson, Lennart
Ivan I. Schmalhausen was one of the central figures in the Russian development of the "Modern Synthesis" in evolutionary biology. He is widely cited internationally even today. Schmalhausen developed the main principles of his theory facing the danger of death in the totalitarian Soviet Union. His great services to evolutionary and theoretical biology are indisputable. However, the received view of Schmalhausen's contributions to evolutionary biology makes an unbiased reading of his texts difficult. Here we show that taking all of his works into consideration (including those only available in Russian) paints a much more dynamic and exciting picture of what he tried to achieve. Schmalhausen pioneered the integration of a developmental perspective into evolutionary thinking. A main tool for achieving this was his approach to living objects as complex multi-level self-regulating systems. Schmalhausen put enormous effort into bringing this idea into fruition during the final stages of his career by combining evolutionary theory with cybernetics. His results and ideas remain thought-provoking, and his texts are of more than just historical interest.
Morrissey, Michael B
In quantitative genetics, the effects of developmental relationships among traits on microevolution are generally represented by the contribution of pleiotropy to additive genetic covariances. Pleiotropic additive genetic covariances arise only from the average effects of alleles on multiple traits, and therefore the evolutionary importance of nonlinearities in development is generally neglected in quantitative genetic views on evolution. However, nonlinearities in relationships among traits at the level of whole organisms are undeniably important to biology in general, and therefore critical to understanding evolution. I outline a system for characterizing key quantitative parameters in nonlinear developmental systems, which yields expressions for quantities such as trait means and phenotypic and genetic covariance matrices. I then develop a system for quantitative prediction of evolution in nonlinear developmental systems. I apply the system to generating a new hypothesis for why direct stabilizing selection is rarely observed. Other uses will include separation of purely correlative from direct and indirect causal effects in studying mechanisms of selection, generation of predictions of medium-term evolutionary trajectories rather than immediate predictions of evolutionary change over single generation time-steps, and the development of efficient and biologically motivated models for separating additive from epistatic genetic variances and covariances.
Trainor, Paul A
What is Developmental Biology? Developmental Biology is a discipline that evolved from the collective fields of embryology, morphology, and anatomy, which firmly established that structure underpins function. In its simplest terms, Developmental Biology has come to describe how a single cell becomes a completely formed organism. However, this definition of Developmental Biology is too narrow. Developmental Biology describes the properties of individual cells; their organization into tissues, organs, and organisms; their homeostasis, regeneration, aging, and ultimately death. Developmental Biology provides a context for cellular reprogramming, stem cell biology, regeneration, tissue engineering, evolutionary development and ecology, and involves the reiterated use of the same cellular mechanisms and signaling pathways throughout the lifespan of an organism. Using neural crest cells as an example, this review explores the contribution of Developmental Biology to our understanding of development, evolution, and disease.
Machluf, Karin; Liddle, James R; Bjorklund, David F
Evolutionary developmental psychology represents a synthesis of modern evolutionary theory and developmental psychology. Here we introduce the special issue on evolutionary developmental psychology by briefly discussing the history of this field and then summarizing the variety of topics that are covered. In this special issue, leading researchers provide a collection of theoretical and empirical articles that highlight recent findings and propose promising areas for future research.
Frankenhuis, Willem E; Panchanathan, Karthik; Clark Barrett, H
Interactions between evolutionary psychologists and developmental systems theorists have been largely antagonistic. This is unfortunate because potential synergies between the two approaches remain unexplored. This article presents a method that may help to bridge the divide, and that has proven fruitful in biology: dynamic optimization. Dynamic optimization integrates developmental systems theorists' focus on dynamics and contingency with the 'design stance' of evolutionary psychology. It provides a theoretical framework as well as a set of tools for exploring the properties of developmental systems that natural selection might favor, given particular evolutionary ecologies. We also discuss limitations of the approach.
Wiese, Kay C.
Much progress has been achieved in recent years in molecular biology and genetics. The sheer volume of data in the form of biological sequences has been enormous and efficient methods for dealing with these huge amounts of data are needed. In addition, the data alone does not provide information on the workings of biological systems; hence much research effort has focused on designing mathematical and computational models to address problems from molecular biology. Often, the terms bioinformatics and computational biology are used to refer to the research fields concerning themselves with designing solutions to molecular problems in biology. However, there is a slight distinction between bioinformatics and computational biology: the former is concerned with managing the enormous amounts of biological data and extracting information from it, while the latter is more concerned with the design and development of new algorithms to address problems such as protein or RNA folding. However, the boundary is blurry, and there is no consistent usage of the terms. We will use the term bioinformatics to encompass both fields. To cover all areas of research in bioinformatics is beyond the scope of this section and we refer the interested reader to  for a general introduction. A large part of what bioinformatics is concerned about is evolution and function of biological systems on a molecular level. Evolutionary computation and evolutionary design are concerned with developing computational systems that "mimic" certain aspects of natural evolution (mutation, crossover, selection, fitness). Much of the inner workings of natural evolutionary systems have been copied, sometimes in modified format into evolutionary computation systems. Artificial neural networks mimic the functioning of simple brain cell clusters. Fuzzy systems are concerned with the "fuzzyness" in decision making, similar to a human expert. These three computational paradigms fall into the category of
Peisajovich, Sergio G
Signaling networks process vast amounts of environmental information to generate specific cellular responses. As cellular environments change, signaling networks adapt accordingly. Here, I will discuss how the integration of synthetic biology and directed evolution approaches is shedding light on the molecular mechanisms that guide the evolution of signaling networks. In particular, I will review studies that demonstrate how different types of mutations, from the replacement of individual amino acids to the shuffling of modular domains, lead to markedly different evolutionary trajectories and consequently to diverse network rewiring. Moreover, I will argue that intrinsic evolutionary properties of signaling proteins, such as the robustness of wild type functions, the promiscuous nature of evolutionary intermediates, and the modular decoupling between binding and catalysis, play important roles in the evolution of signaling networks. Finally, I will argue that rapid advances in our ability to synthesize DNA will radically alter how we study signaling network evolution at the genome-wide level.
Ereskovsky, Alexander V; Borchiellini, Carole; Gazave, Eve; Ivanisevic, Julijana; Lapébie, Pascal; Perez, Thierry; Renard, Emmanuelle; Vacelet, Jean
Sponges branch basally in the metazoan phylogenetic tree and are believed to be composed of four distinct lineages with still uncertain relationships. Indeed, some molecular studies propose that Homoscleromorpha may be a fourth Sponge lineage, distinct from Demospongiae in which they were traditionally classified. They harbour many features that distinguish them from other sponges and are more evocative of those of the eumetazoans. They are notably the only sponges to possess a basement membrane with collagen IV and specialized cell-junctions, thus possessing true epithelia. Among Homoscleromorphs, we have chosen Oscarella lobularis as a model species. This common and easily accessible sponge is characterized by relatively simple histology and cell composition, absence of skeleton, and strongly pronounced epithelial structure. In this review, we explore the specific features that make O. lobularis a promising homoscleromorph sponge model for evolutionary and developmental researches.
regulation. We wish to ascertain whether we can identify such genes promptly in a comprehensive manner. The ease of manipulation using the zebrafish system allows us to conduct an exhaustive exploration of novel genes and small molecular compounds that can be linked to the senescence phenotype and thereby facilitates searching for the evolutionary and developmental origins of aging in vertebrates.
Mabee, P; Balhoff, J P; Dahdul, W M; Lapp, H; Midford, P E; Vision, T J; Westerfield, M
The rich phenotypic diversity that characterizes the vertebrate skeleton results from evolutionary changes in regulation of genes that drive development. Although relatively little is known about the genes that underlie the skeletal variation among fish species, significant knowledge of genetics and development is available for zebrafish. Because developmental processes are highly conserved, this knowledge can be leveraged for understanding the evolution of skeletal diversity. We developed the Phenoscape Knowledgebase (KB; http://kb.phenoscape.org) to yield testable hypotheses of candidate genes involved in skeletal evolution. We developed a community anatomy ontology for fishes and ontology-based methods to represent complex free-text character descriptions of species in a computable format. With these tools, we populated the KB with comparative morphological data from the literature on over 2500 teleost fishes (mainly Ostariophysi) resulting in over 500,000 taxon phenotype annotations. The KB integrates these data with similarly structured phenotype data from zebrafish genes (http://zfin.org). Using ontology-based reasoning, candidate genes can be inferred for the phenotypes that vary across taxa, thereby uniting genetic and phenotypic data to formulate evo-devo hypotheses. The morphological data in the KB can be browsed, sorted, and aggregated in ways that provide unprecedented possibilities for data mining and discovery. PMID:22736877
Frankenhuis, Willem E.; Panchanathan, Karthik; Clark Barrett, H.
Interactions between evolutionary psychologists and developmental systems theorists have been largely antagonistic. This is unfortunate because potential synergies between the two approaches remain unexplored. This article presents a method that may help to bridge the divide, and that has proven fruitful in biology: dynamic optimization. Dynamic…
Maestripieri, Dario; Roney, James R.
Evolutionary developmental psychology is a discipline that has the potential to integrate conceptual approaches to the study of behavioral development derived from psychology and biology as well as empirical data from humans and animals. Comparative research with animals, and especially with nonhuman primates, can provide evidence of adaptation in…
Giribet, Gonzalo; Sharma, Prashant P
Opiliones are one of the largest arachnid orders, with more than 6,500 species in 50 families. Many of these families have been erected or reorganized in the last few years since the publication of The Biology of Opiliones. Recent years have also seen an explosion in phylogenetic work on Opiliones, as well as in studies using Opiliones as test cases to address biogeographic and evolutionary questions more broadly. Accelerated activity in the study of Opiliones evolution has been facilitated by the discovery of several key fossils, including the oldest known Opiliones fossil, which represents a new, extinct suborder. Study of the group's biology has also benefited from rapid accrual of genomic resources, particularly with respect to transcriptomes and functional genetic tools. The rapid emergence and utility of Phalangium opilio as a model for evolutionary developmental biology of arthropods serve as demonstrative evidence of a new area of study in Opiliones biology, made possible through transcriptomic data.
Organ, Chris L; Cooper, Lisa Noelle; Hieronymus, Tobin L
The field of evolutionary developmental biology is broadly focused on identifying the genetic and developmental mechanisms underlying morphological diversity. Connecting the genotype with the phenotype means that evo-devo research often considers a wide range of evidence, from genetics and morphology to fossils. In this commentary, we provide an overview and framework for integrating fossil ontogenetic data with developmental data using phylogenetic comparative methods to test macroevolutionary hypotheses. We survey the vertebrate fossil record of preserved embryos and discuss how phylogenetic comparative methods can integrate data from developmental genetics and paleontology. Fossil embryos provide limited, yet critical, developmental data from deep time. They help constrain when developmental innovations first appeared during the history of life and also reveal the order in which related morphologies evolved. Phylogenetic comparative methods provide a powerful statistical approach that allows evo-devo researchers to infer the presence of nonpreserved developmental traits in fossil species and to detect discordant evolutionary patterns and processes across levels of biological organization.
The "cis"-regulatory hypothesis is one of the most important claims of evolutionary developmental biology. In this paper I examine the theoretical argument for "cis"-regulatory evolution and its role within evolutionary theorizing. I show that, although the argument has some weaknesses, it acts as a useful example for the importance of current…
Benitez, Cecil M.; Goodyer, William R.
The relentless nature and increasing prevalence of human pancreatic diseases, in particular, diabetes mellitus and adenocarcinoma, has motivated further understanding of pancreas organogenesis. The pancreas is a multifunctional organ whose epithelial cells govern a diversity of physiologically vital endocrine and exocrine functions. The mechanisms governing the birth, differentiation, morphogenesis, growth, maturation, and maintenance of the endocrine and exocrine components in the pancreas have been discovered recently with increasing tempo. This includes recent studies unveiling mechanisms permitting unexpected flexibility in the developmental potential of immature and mature pancreatic cell subsets, including the ability to interconvert fates. In this article, we describe how classical cell biology, genetic analysis, lineage tracing, and embryological investigations are being complemented by powerful modern methods including epigenetic analysis, time-lapse imaging, and flow cytometry-based cell purification to dissect fundamental processes of pancreas development. PMID:22587935
Love, Alan C
This paper focuses on abstraction as a mode of reasoning that facilitates a productive relationship between philosophy and science. Using examples from evolutionary developmental biology, I argue that there are two areas where abstraction can be relevant to science: reasoning explication and problem clarification. The value of abstraction is characterized in terms of methodology (modeling or data gathering) and epistemology (explanatory evaluation or data interpretation).
Schlatter, Aline; Konopatskaia, Irina D.
Over the past decade, the free-living flatworm Macrostomum lignano has been successfully used in many areas of biology, including embryology, stem cells, sexual selection, bioadhesion and aging. The increased use of this powerful laboratory model, including the establishment of genomic resources and tools, makes it essential to have a detailed description of the chromosome organization of this species, previously suggested to have a karyotype with 2n = 8 and one pair of large and three pairs of small metacentric chromosomes. We performed cytogenetic analyses for chromosomes of one commonly used inbred line of M. lignano (called DV1) and uncovered unexpected chromosome number variation in the form of aneuploidies of the largest chromosomes. These results prompted us to perform karyotypic studies in individual specimens of this and other lines of M. lignano reared under laboratory conditions, as well as in freshly field-collected specimens from different natural populations. Our analyses revealed a high frequency of aneuploids and in some cases other numerical and structural chromosome abnormalities in laboratory-reared lines of M. lignano, and some cases of aneuploidy were also found in freshly field-collected specimens. Moreover, karyological analyses were performed in specimens of three further species: Macrostomum sp. 8 (a close relative of M. lignano), M. spirale and M. hystrix. Macrostomum sp. 8 showed a karyotype that was similar to that of M. lignano, with tetrasomy for its largest chromosome being the most common karyotype, while the other two species showed a simpler karyotype that is more typical of the genus Macrostomum. These findings suggest that M. lignano and Macrostomum sp. 8 can be used as new models for studying processes of partial genome duplication in genome evolution. PMID:27755577
Paaby, Annalise B; Gibson, Greg
Evolutionary developmental genetics has traditionally been conducted by two groups: Molecular evolutionists who emphasize divergence between species or higher taxa, and quantitative geneticists who study variation within species. Neither approach really comes to grips with the complexities of evolutionary transitions, particularly in light of the realization from genome-wide association studies that most complex traits fit an infinitesimal architecture, being influenced by thousands of loci. This paper discusses robustness, plasticity and lability, phenomena that we argue potentiate major evolutionary changes and provide a bridge between the conceptual treatments of macro- and micro-evolution. We offer cryptic genetic variation and conditional neutrality as mechanisms by which standing genetic variation can lead to developmental system drift and, sheltered within canalized processes, may facilitate developmental transitions and the evolution of novelty. Synthesis of the two dominant perspectives will require recognition that adaptation, divergence, drift and stability all depend on similar underlying quantitative genetic processes-processes that cannot be fully observed in continuously varying visible traits.
Paaby, Annalise B.; Gibson, Greg
Evolutionary developmental genetics has traditionally been conducted by two groups: Molecular evolutionists who emphasize divergence between species or higher taxa, and quantitative geneticists who study variation within species. Neither approach really comes to grips with the complexities of evolutionary transitions, particularly in light of the realization from genome-wide association studies that most complex traits fit an infinitesimal architecture, being influenced by thousands of loci. This paper discusses robustness, plasticity and lability, phenomena that we argue potentiate major evolutionary changes and provide a bridge between the conceptual treatments of macro- and micro-evolution. We offer cryptic genetic variation and conditional neutrality as mechanisms by which standing genetic variation can lead to developmental system drift and, sheltered within canalized processes, may facilitate developmental transitions and the evolution of novelty. Synthesis of the two dominant perspectives will require recognition that adaptation, divergence, drift and stability all depend on similar underlying quantitative genetic processes—processes that cannot be fully observed in continuously varying visible traits. PMID:27304973
Meagher, Thomas R
There is a profound need for the scientific community to be better aware of the policy context in which it operates. To address this need, Evolution has established a new Outlook feature section to include papers that explore the interface between society and evolutionary biology. This first paper in the series considers the strategic relevance of evolutionary biology. Support for scientific research in general is based on governmental or institutional expenditure that is an investment, and such investment is based on strategies designed to achieve particular outcomes, such as advance in particular areas of basic science or application. The scientific community can engage in the development of scientific strategies on a variety of levels, including workshops to explicitly develop research priorities and targeted funding initiatives to help define emerging scientific areas. Better understanding and communication of the scientific achievements of evolutionary biology, emphasizing immediate and potential societal relevance, are effective counters to challenges presented by the creationist agenda. Future papers in the Outlook feature section should assist the evolutionary biology community in achieving a better collective understanding of the societal relevance of their field.
Aktipis, C Athena; Nesse, Randolph M
New applications of evolutionary biology are transforming our understanding of cancer. The articles in this special issue provide many specific examples, such as microorganisms inducing cancers, the significance of within-tumor heterogeneity, and the possibility that lower dose chemotherapy may sometimes promote longer survival. Underlying these specific advances is a large-scale transformation, as cancer research incorporates evolutionary methods into its toolkit, and asks new evolutionary questions about why we are vulnerable to cancer. Evolution explains why cancer exists at all, how neoplasms grow, why cancer is remarkably rare, and why it occurs despite powerful cancer suppression mechanisms. Cancer exists because of somatic selection; mutations in somatic cells result in some dividing faster than others, in some cases generating neoplasms. Neoplasms grow, or do not, in complex cellular ecosystems. Cancer is relatively rare because of natural selection; our genomes were derived disproportionally from individuals with effective mechanisms for suppressing cancer. Cancer occurs nonetheless for the same six evolutionary reasons that explain why we remain vulnerable to other diseases. These four principles—cancers evolve by somatic selection, neoplasms grow in complex ecosystems, natural selection has shaped powerful cancer defenses, and the limitations of those defenses have evolutionary explanations—provide a foundation for understanding, preventing, and treating cancer. PMID:23396885
Aktipis, C Athena; Nesse, Randolph M
New applications of evolutionary biology are transforming our understanding of cancer. The articles in this special issue provide many specific examples, such as microorganisms inducing cancers, the significance of within-tumor heterogeneity, and the possibility that lower dose chemotherapy may sometimes promote longer survival. Underlying these specific advances is a large-scale transformation, as cancer research incorporates evolutionary methods into its toolkit, and asks new evolutionary questions about why we are vulnerable to cancer. Evolution explains why cancer exists at all, how neoplasms grow, why cancer is remarkably rare, and why it occurs despite powerful cancer suppression mechanisms. Cancer exists because of somatic selection; mutations in somatic cells result in some dividing faster than others, in some cases generating neoplasms. Neoplasms grow, or do not, in complex cellular ecosystems. Cancer is relatively rare because of natural selection; our genomes were derived disproportionally from individuals with effective mechanisms for suppressing cancer. Cancer occurs nonetheless for the same six evolutionary reasons that explain why we remain vulnerable to other diseases. These four principles-cancers evolve by somatic selection, neoplasms grow in complex ecosystems, natural selection has shaped powerful cancer defenses, and the limitations of those defenses have evolutionary explanations-provide a foundation for understanding, preventing, and treating cancer.
Carroll, Scott P; Jørgensen, Peter Søgaard; Kinnison, Michael T; Bergstrom, Carl T; Denison, R Ford; Gluckman, Peter; Smith, Thomas B; Strauss, Sharon Y; Tabashnik, Bruce E
Two categories of evolutionary challenges result from escalating human impacts on the planet. The first arises from cancers, pathogens, and pests that evolve too quickly and the second, from the inability of many valued species to adapt quickly enough. Applied evolutionary biology provides a suite of strategies to address these global challenges that threaten human health, food security, and biodiversity. This Review highlights both progress and gaps in genetic, developmental, and environmental manipulations across the life sciences that either target the rate and direction of evolution or reduce the mismatch between organisms and human-altered environments. Increased development and application of these underused tools will be vital in meeting current and future targets for sustainable development.
Carroll, Scott P.; Jørgensen, Peter Søgaard; Kinnison, Michael T.; Bergstrom, Carl T.; Denison, R. Ford; Gluckman, Peter; Smith, Thomas B.; Strauss, Sharon Y.; Tabashnik, Bruce E.
Two categories of evolutionary challenges result from escalating human impacts on the planet. The first arises from cancers, pathogens and pests that evolve too quickly, and the second from the inability of many valued species to adapt quickly enough. Applied evolutionary biology provides a suite of strategies to address these global challenges that threaten human health, food security, and biodiversity. This review highlights both progress and gaps in genetic, developmental and environmental manipulations across the life sciences that either target the rate and direction of evolution, or reduce the mismatch between organisms and human-altered environments. Increased development and application of these underused tools will be vital in meeting current and future targets for sustainable development. PMID:25213376
Welch, John J
There have been periodic claims that evolutionary biology needs urgent reform, and this article tries to account for the volume and persistence of this discontent. It is argued that a few inescapable properties of the field make it prone to criticisms of predictable kinds, whether or not the criticisms have any merit. For example, the variety of living things and the complexity of evolution make it easy to generate data that seem revolutionary (e.g. exceptions to well-established generalizations, or neglected factors in evolution), and lead to disappointment with existing explanatory frameworks (with their high levels of abstraction, and limited predictive power). It is then argued that special discontent stems from misunderstandings and dislike of one well-known but atypical research programme: the study of adaptive function, in the tradition of behavioural ecology. To achieve its goals, this research needs distinct tools, often including imaginary agency, and a partial description of the evolutionary process. This invites mistaken charges of narrowness and oversimplification (which come, not least, from researchers in other subfields), and these chime with anxieties about human agency and overall purpose. The article ends by discussing several ways in which calls to reform evolutionary biology actively hinder progress in the field.
St Johnston, Daniel
Since its heyday in the 1980s and 90s, the field of developmental biology has gone into decline; in part because it has been eclipsed by the rise of genomics and stem cell biology, and in part because it has seemed less pertinent in an era with so much focus on translational impact. In this essay, I argue that recent progress in genome-wide analyses and stem cell research, coupled with technological advances in imaging and genome editing, have created the conditions for the renaissance of a new wave of developmental biology with greater translational relevance.
Bill, Brent Roy; Korzh, Vladimir
The blood-cerebrospinal fluid boundary is present at the level of epithelial cells of the choroid plexus. As one of the sources of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), the choroid plexus (CP) plays an important role during brain development and function. Its formation has been studied largely in mammalian species. Lately, progress in other model animals, in particular the zebrafish, has brought a deeper understanding of CP formation, due in part to the ability to observe CP development in vivo. At the same time, advances in comparative genomics began providing information, which opens a possibility to understand further the molecular mechanisms involved in evolution of the CP and the blood-cerebrospinal fluid boundary formation. Hence this review focuses on analysis of the CP from developmental and evolutionary perspectives. PMID:25452709
Crowe, Nathan; Dietrich, Michael R; Alomepe, Beverly S; Antrim, Amelia F; ByrneSim, Bay Lauris; He, Yi
In the 1960s, "developmental biology" became the dominant term to describe some of the research that had previously been included under the rubrics of embryology, growth, morphology, and physiology. As scientific societies formed under this new label, a new discipline took shape. Historians, however, have a number of different perspectives on what changes led to this new field of developmental biology and how the field itself was constituted during this period. Using the General Embryological Information Service, a global index of post-World War II development-related research, we have documented and visualized significant changes in the kinds of research that occurred as this new field formed. In particular, our analysis supports the claim that the transition toward developmental biology was marked by a growth in new topics and forms of research. Although many historians privilege the role of molecular biology and/or the molecularization of biology in general during this formative period, we have found that the influence of molecular biology is not sufficient to account for the wide range of new research that constituted developmental biology at the time. Overall, our work creates a robust characterization of the changes that occurred with regard to research on growth and development in the decades following World War II and provides a context for future work on the specific drivers of those changes.
Skerry, Amy E; Lambert, Enoch; Powell, Lindsey J; McAuliffe, Katherine
The question of whether and how information is actively transferred from knowledgeable to ignorant individuals has received much attention in psychology and evolutionary biology. Research in these fields has proceeded largely independently, with studies of nonhuman animals focusing on knowledgeable individuals and whether or not they meet a functional definition of teaching, while studies of children focus on the learner's assumptions and inferences. We argue that a comprehensive theory of teaching will benefit from integrating perspectives and empirical phenomena from evolutionary and developmental disciplines. In this review, we identify cases of seemingly purposeful information transfer (i.e. teaching) in human and nonhuman animals, discuss what is known about the cognitive processes that support teaching in different species, and highlight ways in which each discipline might be informed by extant theories and empirical tools from the other.
Vasieva, Olga; Rasolonjanahary, Manan'Iarivo; Vasiev, Bakhtier
In recent decades, molecular and cellular biology has benefited from numerous fascinating developments in experimental technique, generating an overwhelming amount of data on various biological objects and processes. This, in turn, has led biologists to look for appropriate tools to facilitate systematic analysis of data. Thus, the need for mathematical techniques, which can be used to aid the classification and understanding of this ever-growing body of experimental data, is more profound now than ever before. Mathematical modelling is becoming increasingly integrated into biological studies in general and into developmental biology particularly. This review outlines some achievements of mathematics as applied to developmental biology and demonstrates the mathematical formulation of basic principles driving morphogenesis. We begin by describing a mathematical formalism used to analyse the formation and scaling of morphogen gradients. Then we address a problem of interplay between the dynamics of morphogen gradients and movement of cells, referring to mathematical models of gastrulation in the chick embryo. In the last section, we give an overview of various mathematical models used in the study of the developmental cycle of Dictyostelium discoideum, which is probably the best example of successful mathematical modelling in developmental biology.
WEISBLAT, DAVID A.; KUO, DIAN-HAN
Glossiphoniid leeches of the genus Helobdella provide experimentally tractable models for studies in evolutionary developmental biology (Evo-Devo). Here, after a brief rationale, we will summarize our current understanding of Helobdella development and highlight the near term prospects for future investigations, with respect to the issues of: D quadrant specification; the transition from spiral to bilaterally symmetric cleavage; segmentation, and the connections between segmental and non-segmental tissues; modifications of BMP signaling in dorsoventral patterning and the O-P equivalence group; germ line specification and genome rearrangements. The goal of this contribution is to serve as a summary of, and guide to, published work. PMID:25690960
Neese, Randolph M.; Schiffman, Joshua D.
Presents a study in which a questionnaire was given to deans at North American medical schools to determine which aspects of evolutionary biology are included in the curricula and the factors that influence this. Suggests that most future physicians should learn evolutionary biology as undergraduates if they are to learn it at all. (Author/NB)
Peter, Isabelle S; Davidson, Eric H
The insight that the genomic control of developmental process is encoded in the form of gene regulatory networks has profound impacts on many areas of modern bioscience. Most importantly, it affects developmental biology itself, as it means that a causal understanding of development requires knowledge of the architecture of regulatory network interactions. Furthermore, it follows that functional changes in developmental gene regulatory networks have to be considered as a primary mechanism for evolutionary process. We here discuss some of the recent advances in gene regulatory network biology and how they have affected our current understanding of development, evolution, and regulatory genomics.
Del Giudice, Marco
Middle childhood is a key transitional stage in the development of attachment processes and representations. Here I discuss the middle childhood transition from an evolutionary-developmental perspective and show how this approach offers fresh insight into the function and organization of attachment in this life stage. I begin by presenting an integrated biological model of middle childhood and discussing the neurobiological mechanisms that support the middle childhood transition. I examine the potential role of adrenal androgens, focusing on their activational effects in interaction with early exposure to sex hormones. I then discuss three insights arising from the integrated model and apply them to the development of attachment in middle childhood. I consider the changing functions of attachment in light of social competition, the emergence of sex differences in attachment, and the model's implications for the genetics of attachment in middle childhood.
Lynch, Michael; Field, Mark C.; Goodson, Holly V.; Malik, Harmit S.; Pereira-Leal, José B.; Roos, David S.; Turkewitz, Aaron P.; Sazer, Shelley
All aspects of biological diversification ultimately trace to evolutionary modifications at the cellular level. This central role of cells frames the basic questions as to how cells work and how cells come to be the way they are. Although these two lines of inquiry lie respectively within the traditional provenance of cell biology and evolutionary biology, a comprehensive synthesis of evolutionary and cell-biological thinking is lacking. We define evolutionary cell biology as the fusion of these two eponymous fields with the theoretical and quantitative branches of biochemistry, biophysics, and population genetics. The key goals are to develop a mechanistic understanding of general evolutionary processes, while specifically infusing cell biology with an evolutionary perspective. The full development of this interdisciplinary field has the potential to solve numerous problems in diverse areas of biology, including the degree to which selection, effectively neutral processes, historical contingencies, and/or constraints at the chemical and biophysical levels dictate patterns of variation for intracellular features. These problems can now be examined at both the within- and among-species levels, with single-cell methodologies even allowing quantification of variation within genotypes. Some results from this emerging field have already had a substantial impact on cell biology, and future findings will significantly influence applications in agriculture, medicine, environmental science, and synthetic biology. PMID:25404324
Lynch, Michael; Field, Mark C; Goodson, Holly V; Malik, Harmit S; Pereira-Leal, José B; Roos, David S; Turkewitz, Aaron P; Sazer, Shelley
All aspects of biological diversification ultimately trace to evolutionary modifications at the cellular level. This central role of cells frames the basic questions as to how cells work and how cells come to be the way they are. Although these two lines of inquiry lie respectively within the traditional provenance of cell biology and evolutionary biology, a comprehensive synthesis of evolutionary and cell-biological thinking is lacking. We define evolutionary cell biology as the fusion of these two eponymous fields with the theoretical and quantitative branches of biochemistry, biophysics, and population genetics. The key goals are to develop a mechanistic understanding of general evolutionary processes, while specifically infusing cell biology with an evolutionary perspective. The full development of this interdisciplinary field has the potential to solve numerous problems in diverse areas of biology, including the degree to which selection, effectively neutral processes, historical contingencies, and/or constraints at the chemical and biophysical levels dictate patterns of variation for intracellular features. These problems can now be examined at both the within- and among-species levels, with single-cell methodologies even allowing quantification of variation within genotypes. Some results from this emerging field have already had a substantial impact on cell biology, and future findings will significantly influence applications in agriculture, medicine, environmental science, and synthetic biology.
O'Malley, Maureen A; Soyer, Orkun S; Siegal, Mark L
Evolutionary systems biology (ESB) is an emerging hybrid approach that integrates methods, models, and data from evolutionary and systems biology. Drawing on themes that arose at a cross-disciplinary meeting on ESB in 2013, we discuss in detail some of the explanatory friction that arises in the interaction between evolutionary and systems biology. These tensions appear because of different modeling approaches, diverse explanatory aims and strategies, and divergent views about the scope of the evolutionary synthesis. We locate these discussions in the context of long-running philosophical deliberations on explanation, modeling, and theoretical synthesis. We show how many of the issues central to ESB's progress can be understood as general philosophical problems. The benefits of addressing these philosophical issues feed back into philosophy too, because ESB provides excellent examples of scientific practice for the development of philosophy of science and philosophy of biology.
Leung, Maxwell C K; Procter, Andrew C; Goldstone, Jared V; Foox, Jonathan; DeSalle, Robert; Mattingly, Carolyn J; Siddall, Mark E; Timme-Laragy, Alicia R
Evolutionary thinking continues to challenge our views on health and disease. Yet, there is a communication gap between evolutionary biologists and toxicologists in recognizing the connections among developmental pathways, high-throughput screening, and birth defects in humans. To increase our capability in identifying potential developmental toxicants in humans, we propose to apply evolutionary genetics to improve the experimental design and data interpretation with various in vitro and whole-organism models. We review five molecular systems of stress response and update 18 consensual cell-cell signaling pathways that are the hallmark for early development, organogenesis, and differentiation; and revisit the principles of teratology in light of recent advances in high-throughput screening, big data techniques, and systems toxicology. Multiscale systems modeling plays an integral role in the evolutionary approach to cross-species extrapolation. Phylogenetic analysis and comparative bioinformatics are both valuable tools in identifying and validating the molecular initiating events that account for adverse developmental outcomes in humans. The discordance of susceptibility between test species and humans (ontogeny) reflects their differences in evolutionary history (phylogeny). This synthesis not only can lead to novel applications in developmental toxicity and risk assessment, but also can pave the way for applying an evo-devo perspective to the study of developmental origins of health and disease.
Koonin, Eugene V
In 2009, we are celebrating the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin and the 150th jubilee of his masterpiece, the Origin of Species. Darwin developed the first coherent and compelling narrative of biological evolution and thus founded evolutionary biology-and modern biology in general, remembering the famous dictum of Dobzhansky. It is, however, counter-productive, and ultimately, a disservice to Darwin's legacy, to define modern evolutionary biology as neo-Darwinism. The current picture of evolution, informed, in particular, by results of comparative genomics and systems biology, is by far more complex than that presented in the Origin of Species, so that Darwinian principles, including natural selection, are incorporated into the evolving new synthesis as important but certainly not all-embracing tenets. This expansion of evolutionary biology does not denigrate Darwin in the least but rather emphasizes the fertility of his ideas.
With the completion of the human genome and the growing number of diverse genomes being sequenced, a new age of evolutionary research is currently taking shape. The myriad of technological breakthroughs in biology that are leading to the unification of broad scientific fields such as molecular biology, biochemistry, physics, mathematics and computer science are now known as systems biology. Here I present an overview, with an emphasis on eukaryotes, of how the postgenomics era is adopting comparative approaches that go beyond comparisons among model organisms to shape the nascent field of evolutionary systems biology.
Koonin, Eugene V.
In 2009, we are celebrating the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin and the 150th jubilee of his masterpiece, the Origin of Species. Darwin developed the first coherent and compelling narrative of biological evolution and thus founded evolutionary biology—and modern biology in general, remembering the famous dictum of Dobzhansky. It is, however, counter-productive, and ultimately, a disservice to Darwin’s legacy, to define modern evolutionary biology as neo-Darwinism. The current picture of evolution, informed, in particular, by results of comparative genomics and systems biology, is by far more complex than that presented in the Origin of Species, so that Darwinian principles, including natural selection, are incorporated into the evolving new synthesis as important but certainly not all-embracing tenets. This expansion of evolutionary biology does not denigrate Darwin in the least but rather emphasizes the fertility of his ideas. PMID:19242109
Hopeful monsters are organisms with a profound mutant phenotype that have the potential to establish a new evolutionary lineage. The Synthetic Theory of evolutionary biology has rejected the evolutionary relevance of hopeful monsters, but could not fully explain the mechanism and mode of macroevolution. On the other hand, several lines of evidence suggest that hopeful monsters played an important role during the origin of key innovations and novel body plans by saltational rather than gradual evolution. Homeotic mutants are identified as an especially promising class of hopeful monsters. Examples for animal and plant lineages that may have originated as hopeful monsters are given. Nevertheless, a brief review of the history of the concept of hopeful monsters reveals that it needs refinements and empirical tests if it is to be a useful addition to evolutionary biology. While evolutionary biology is traditionally zoocentric, hopeful monsters might be more relevant for plant than for animal evolution. Even though during recent years developmental genetics has provided detailed knowledge about how hopeful monsters can originate in the first place, we know almost nothing about their performance in natural populations and thus the ultimate difference between hopeful and hopeless. Studying the fitness of candidate hopeful monsters (suitable mutants with profound phenotype) in natural habitats thus remains a considerable challenge for the future.
Dremock, Fae, Ed.
This bulletin features articles on real world evolutionary biology, revolutionary classroom science, a review of new curricula in evolutionary biology, and the use of case studies to illustrate points in evolutionary biology. The articles are: (1) "'Real World' Evolutionary Biology: A Pragmatic Quest. Interview with BioQUEST's John Jungck" (Harvey…
Background Many difficult problems in evolutionary genomics are related to mutations that have weak effects on fitness, as the consequences of mutations with large effects are often simple to predict. Current systems biology has accumulated much data on mutations with large effects and can predict the properties of knockout mutants in some systems. However experimental methods are too insensitive to observe small effects. Results Here I propose a novel framework that brings together evolutionary theory and current systems biology approaches in order to quantify small effects of mutations and their epistatic interactions in silico. Central to this approach is the definition of fitness correlates that can be computed in some current systems biology models employing the rigorous algorithms that are at the core of much work in computational systems biology. The framework exploits synergies between the realism of such models and the need to understand real systems in evolutionary theory. This framework can address many longstanding topics in evolutionary biology by defining various 'levels' of the adaptive landscape. Addressed topics include the distribution of mutational effects on fitness, as well as the nature of advantageous mutations, epistasis and robustness. Combining corresponding parameter estimates with population genetics models raises the possibility of testing evolutionary hypotheses at a new level of realism. Conclusion EvoSysBio is expected to lead to a more detailed understanding of the fundamental principles of life by combining knowledge about well-known biological systems from several disciplines. This will benefit both evolutionary theory and current systems biology. Understanding robustness by analysing distributions of mutational effects and epistasis is pivotal for drug design, cancer research, responsible genetic engineering in synthetic biology and many other practical applications. PMID:19239699
Recent advances in developmental biology have yielded detailed models of gene regulatory networks (GRNs) involved in cell specification and other processes in embryonic differentiation. Such networks form the bedrock on which a systems biology approach to developme...
Del Giudice, Marco
Middle childhood is a key transitional stage in the development of attachment processes and representations. Here I discuss the middle childhood transition from an evolutionary-developmental perspective and show how this approach offers fresh insight into the function and organization of attachment in this life stage. I begin by presenting an…
Hopkins, Gareth R.; Brodie, Edmund D.; French, Susannah S.
The world is increasingly impacted by a variety of stressors that have the potential to differentially influence life history stages of organisms. Organisms have evolved to cope with some stressors, while with others they have little capacity. It is thus important to understand the effects of both developmental and evolutionary history on survival in stressful environments. We present evidence of the effects of both developmental and evolutionary history on survival of a freshwater vertebrate, the rough-skinned newt (Taricha granulosa) in an osmotically stressful environment. We compared the survival of larvae in either NaCl or MgCl2 that were exposed to salinity either as larvae only or as embryos as well. Embryonic exposure to salinity led to greater mortality of newt larvae than larval exposure alone, and this reduced survival probability was strongly linked to the carry-over effect of stunted embryonic growth in salts. Larval survival was also dependent on the type of salt (NaCl or MgCl2) the larvae were exposed to, and was lowest in MgCl2, a widely-used chemical deicer that, unlike NaCl, amphibian larvae do not have an evolutionary history of regulating at high levels. Both developmental and evolutionary history are critical factors in determining survival in this stressful environment, a pattern that may have widespread implications for the survival of animals increasingly impacted by substances with which they have little evolutionary history. PMID:24748021
Marga, Francoise; Neagu, Adrian; Kosztin, Ioan; Forgacs, Gabor
Morphogenesis implies the controlled spatial organization of cells that gives rise to tissues and organs in early embryonic development. While morphogenesis is under strict genetic control, the formation of specialized biological structures of specific shape hinges on physical processes. Tissue engineering (TE) aims at reproducing morphogenesis in the laboratory, i.e., in vitro, to fabricate replacement organs for regenerative medicine. The classical approach to generate tissues/organs is by seeding and expanding cells in appropriately shaped biocompatible scaffolds, in the hope that the maturation process will result in the desired structure. To accomplish this goal more naturally and efficiently, we set up and implemented a novel TE method that is based on principles of developmental biology and employs bioprinting, the automated delivery of cellular composites into a three-dimensional (3D) biocompatible environment. The novel technology relies on the concept of tissue liquidity according to which multicellular aggregates composed of adhesive and motile cells behave in analogy with liquids: in particular, they fuse. We emphasize the major role played by tissue fusion in the embryo and explain how the parameters (surface tension, viscosity) that govern tissue fusion can be used both experimentally and theoretically to control and simulate the self-assembly of cellular spheroids into 3D living structures. The experimentally observed postprinting shape evolution of tube- and sheet-like constructs is presented. Computer simulations, based on a liquid model, support the idea that tissue liquidity may provide a mechanism for in vitro organ building.
Hallgrímsson, Benedikt; Jamniczky, Heather A.; Young, Nathan M.; Rolian, Campbell; Schmidt-Ott, Urs; Marcucio, Ralph S.
Organisms exhibit an incredible diversity of form, a fact that makes the evolution of novelty seemingly self-evident. However, despite the “obvious” case for novelty, defining this concept in evolutionary terms is highly problematic, so much so that some have suggested discarding it altogether. Approaches to this problem tend to take either an adaptation or development-based perspective, but we argue here that an exclusive focus on either of these misses the original intent of the novelty concept and undermines its practical utility. We instead propose that for a feature to be novel it must have evolved both by a transition between adaptive peaks on the fitness landscape and that this transition must have overcome a previous developmental constraint. This definition focuses novelty on the explanation of apparently difficult or low probability evolutionary transitions and highlights how the integration of developmental and functional considerations is necessary to evolutionary explanation. It further reinforces that novelty is a central concern not just of evolutionary developmental biology (i.e., “evo-devo”) but of evolutionary biology more generally. We explore this definition of novelty in light of four examples that range from the obvious to subtle. PMID:22649039
Wang, Li; Li, Jing; Zhao, Jing; He, Chaoying
Morphological variations of fruits such as shape and size, and color are a result of adaptive evolution. The evolution of morphological novelties is particularly intriguing. An understanding of these evolutionary processes calls for the elucidation of the developmental and genetic mechanisms that result in particular fruit morphological characteristics, which determine seed dispersal. The genetic and developmental basis for fruit morphological variation was established at a microevolutionary time scale. Here, we summarize the progress on the evolutionary developmental genetics of fruit size, shape and color in the Solanaceae. Studies suggest that the recruitment of a pre-existing gene and subsequent modification of its interaction and regulatory networks are frequently involved in the evolution of morphological diversity. The basic mechanisms underlying changes in plant morphology are alterations in gene expression and/or gene function. We also deliberate on the future direction in evolutionary developmental genetics of fruit morphological variation such as fruit type. These studies will provide insights into plant developmental processes and will help to improve the productivity and fruit quality of crops.
Wang, Li; Li, Jing; Zhao, Jing; He, Chaoying
Morphological variations of fruits such as shape and size, and color are a result of adaptive evolution. The evolution of morphological novelties is particularly intriguing. An understanding of these evolutionary processes calls for the elucidation of the developmental and genetic mechanisms that result in particular fruit morphological characteristics, which determine seed dispersal. The genetic and developmental basis for fruit morphological variation was established at a microevolutionary time scale. Here, we summarize the progress on the evolutionary developmental genetics of fruit size, shape and color in the Solanaceae. Studies suggest that the recruitment of a pre-existing gene and subsequent modification of its interaction and regulatory networks are frequently involved in the evolution of morphological diversity. The basic mechanisms underlying changes in plant morphology are alterations in gene expression and/or gene function. We also deliberate on the future direction in evolutionary developmental genetics of fruit morphological variation such as fruit type. These studies will provide insights into plant developmental processes and will help to improve the productivity and fruit quality of crops. PMID:25918515
Han, Jing-Dong J; Liu, Yi; Xue, Huiling; Xia, Kai; Yu, Hong; Zhu, Shanshan; Chen, Zhang; Zhang, Wei; Huang, Zheng; Jin, Chunyu; Xian, Bo; Li, Jing; Hou, Lei; Han, Yixing; Niu, Chaoqun; Alcon, Timothy C
Organism development is a systems level process. It has benefited greatly from the recent technological advances in the field of systems biology. DNA microarray, phenome, interactome and transcriptome mapping, the new generation of deep sequencing technologies, and faster and better computational and modeling approaches have opened new frontiers for both systems biologists and developmental biologists to reexamine the old developmental biology questions, such as pattern formation, and to tackle new problems, such as stem cell reprogramming. As showcased in the International Developmental Systems Biology Symposium organized by Chinese Academy of Sciences, developmental systems biology is flourishing in many perspectives, from the evolution of developmental systems, to the underlying genetic and molecular pathways and networks, to the genomic, epigenomic and noncoding levels, to the computational analysis and modeling. We believe that the field will continue to reap rewards into the future with these new approaches.
Carson, Hampton L.
Cites examples of the contribution of basic research in evolutionary biology to the solution of problems facing society (1) by dispelling myths about human origins, the nature of the individual, and the nature of race (2) by providing basic data concerning the effects of overpopulation, the production of improved sources of food, resistance of…
Watson, Richard A; Mills, Rob; Buckley, C L; Kouvaris, Kostas; Jackson, Adam; Powers, Simon T; Cox, Chris; Tudge, Simon; Davies, Adam; Kounios, Loizos; Power, Daniel
The mechanisms of variation, selection and inheritance, on which evolution by natural selection depends, are not fixed over evolutionary time. Current evolutionary biology is increasingly focussed on understanding how the evolution of developmental organisations modifies the distribution of phenotypic variation, the evolution of ecological relationships modifies the selective environment, and the evolution of reproductive relationships modifies the heritability of the evolutionary unit. The major transitions in evolution, in particular, involve radical changes in developmental, ecological and reproductive organisations that instantiate variation, selection and inheritance at a higher level of biological organisation. However, current evolutionary theory is poorly equipped to describe how these organisations change over evolutionary time and especially how that results in adaptive complexes at successive scales of organisation (the key problem is that evolution is self-referential, i.e. the products of evolution change the parameters of the evolutionary process). Here we first reinterpret the central open questions in these domains from a perspective that emphasises the common underlying themes. We then synthesise the findings from a developing body of work that is building a new theoretical approach to these questions by converting well-understood theory and results from models of cognitive learning. Specifically, connectionist models of memory and learning demonstrate how simple incremental mechanisms, adjusting the relationships between individually-simple components, can produce organisations that exhibit complex system-level behaviours and improve the adaptive capabilities of the system. We use the term "evolutionary connectionism" to recognise that, by functionally equivalent processes, natural selection acting on the relationships within and between evolutionary entities can result in organisations that produce complex system-level behaviours in evolutionary
Davidson, Eric H.
At present several entirely different explanatory approaches compete to illuminate the mechanisms by which animal body plans have evolved. Their respective relevance is briefly considered here in the light of modern knowledge of genomes and the regulatory processes by which development is controlled. Just as development is a system property of the regulatory genome, so causal explanation of evolutionary change in developmental process must be considered at a system level. Here I enumerate some mechanistic consequences that follow from the conclusion that evolution of the body plan has occurred by alteration of the structure of developmental gene regulatory networks. The hierarchy and multiple additional design features of these networks act to produce Boolean regulatory state specification functions at upstream phases of development of the body plan. These are created by the logic outputs of network subcircuits, and in modern animals these outputs are impervious to continuous adaptive variation unlike genes operating more peripherally in the network. PMID:21320483
Davidson, Eric H
At present several entirely different explanatory approaches compete to illuminate the mechanisms by which animal body plans have evolved. Their respective relevance is briefly considered here in the light of modern knowledge of genomes and the regulatory processes by which development is controlled. Just as development is a system property of the regulatory genome, causal explanation of evolutionary change in developmental process must be considered at a system level. Here I enumerate some mechanistic consequences that follow from the conclusion that evolution of the body plan has occurred by alteration of the structure of developmental gene regulatory networks. The hierarchy and multiple additional design features of these networks act to produce Boolean regulatory state specification functions at upstream phases of development of the body plan. These are created by the logic outputs of network subcircuits, and in modern animals these outputs are impervious to continuous adaptive variation unlike genes operating more peripherally in the network.
What kind mechanisms one deems central for the evolutionary process deeply influences one's understanding of the nature of organisms, including cognition. Reversely, adopting a certain approach to the nature of life and cognition and the relationship between them or between the organism and its environment should affect one's view of evolutionary theory. This paper explores this reciprocal relationship in more detail. In particular it argues that the view of living and cognitive systems, especially humans, as deeply integrated beings embedded in and transformed by their genetic, epigenetic (molecular and cellular), behavioral, ecological, socio-cultural and cognitive-symbolic legacies calls for an extended evolutionary synthesis that goes beyond either a theory of genes juxtaposed against a theory of cultural evolution and or even more sophisticated theories of gene-culture coevolution and niche construction. Environments, particularly in the form of developmental environments, do not just select for variation, they also create new variation by influencing development through the reliable transmission of non-genetic but heritable information. This paper stresses particularly views of embodied, embedded, enacted and extended cognition, and their relationship to those aspects of extended inheritance that lie between genetic and cultural inheritance, the still gray area of epigenetic and behavioral inheritance systems that play a role in parental effect. These are the processes that can be regarded as transgenerational developmental plasticity and that I think can most fruitfully contribute to, and be investigated by, developmental psychology.
Chitwood, Daniel H; Klein, Laura L; O'Hanlon, Regan; Chacko, Steven; Greg, Matthew; Kitchen, Cassandra; Miller, Allison J; Londo, Jason P
Across plants, leaves exhibit profound diversity in shape. As a single leaf expands, its shape is in constant flux. Plants may also produce leaves with different shapes at successive nodes. In addition, leaf shape varies among individuals, populations and species as a result of evolutionary processes and environmental influences. Because leaf shape can vary in many different ways, theoretically, the effects of distinct developmental and evolutionary processes are separable, even within the shape of a single leaf. Here, we measured the shapes of > 3200 leaves representing > 270 vines from wild relatives of domesticated grape (Vitis spp.) to determine whether leaf shapes attributable to genetics and development are separable from each other. We isolated latent shapes (multivariate signatures that vary independently from each other) embedded within the overall shape of leaves. These latent shapes can predict developmental stages independent from species identity and vice versa. Shapes predictive of development were then used to stage leaves from 1200 varieties of domesticated grape (Vitis vinifera), revealing that changes in timing underlie leaf shape diversity. Our results indicate that distinct latent shapes combine to produce a composite morphology in leaves, and that developmental and evolutionary contributions to shape vary independently from each other.
What kind mechanisms one deems central for the evolutionary process deeply influences one's understanding of the nature of organisms, including cognition. Reversely, adopting a certain approach to the nature of life and cognition and the relationship between them or between the organism and its environment should affect one's view of evolutionary theory. This paper explores this reciprocal relationship in more detail. In particular it argues that the view of living and cognitive systems, especially humans, as deeply integrated beings embedded in and transformed by their genetic, epigenetic (molecular and cellular), behavioral, ecological, socio-cultural and cognitive-symbolic legacies calls for an extended evolutionary synthesis that goes beyond either a theory of genes juxtaposed against a theory of cultural evolution and or even more sophisticated theories of gene-culture coevolution and niche construction. Environments, particularly in the form of developmental environments, do not just select for variation, they also create new variation by influencing development through the reliable transmission of non-genetic but heritable information. This paper stresses particularly views of embodied, embedded, enacted and extended cognition, and their relationship to those aspects of extended inheritance that lie between genetic and cultural inheritance, the still gray area of epigenetic and behavioral inheritance systems that play a role in parental effect. These are the processes that can be regarded as transgenerational developmental plasticity and that I think can most fruitfully contribute to, and be investigated by, developmental psychology. PMID:25191292
Chuong, Edward B; Hannibal, Roberta L; Green, Sherril L; Baker, Julie C
In all mammals including humans, development takes place within the protective environment of the maternal womb. Throughout gestation, nutrients and waste products are continuously exchanged between mother and fetus through the placenta. Despite the clear importance of the placenta to successful pregnancy and the health of both mother and offspring, relatively little is understood about the biology of the placenta and its role in pregnancy-related diseases. Given that pre- and peri-natal diseases involving the placenta affect millions of women and their newborns worldwide, there is an urgent need to understand placenta biology and development. Here, we suggest that the placenta is an organ under unique selective pressures that have driven its rapid diversification throughout mammalian evolution. The high divergence of the placenta complicates the use of non-human animal models and necessitates an evolutionary perspective when studying its biology and role in disease. We suggest that diversifying evolution of the placenta is primarily driven by intraspecies evolutionary conflict between mother and fetus, and that many pregnancy diseases are a consequence of this evolutionary force. Understanding how maternal-fetal conflict shapes both basic placental and reproductive biology - in all species - will provide key insights into diseases of pregnancy.
Menu, Frédéric; Ginoux, Marine; Rajon, Etienne; Lazzari, Claudio R.; Rabinovich, Jorge E.
Background The developmental time of vector insects is important in population dynamics, evolutionary biology, epidemiology and in their responses to global climatic change. In the triatomines (Triatominae, Reduviidae), vectors of Chagas disease, evolutionary ecology concepts, which may allow for a better understanding of their biology, have not been applied. Despite delay in the molting in some individuals observed in triatomines, no effort was made to explain this variability. Methodology We applied four methods: (1) an e-mail survey sent to 30 researchers with experience in triatomines, (2) a statistical description of the developmental time of eleven triatomine species, (3) a relationship between development time pattern and climatic inter-annual variability, (4) a mathematical optimization model of evolution of developmental delay (diapause). Principal Findings 85.6% of responses informed on prolonged developmental times in 5th instar nymphs, with 20 species identified with remarkable developmental delays. The developmental time analysis showed some degree of bi-modal pattern of the development time of the 5th instars in nine out of eleven species but no trend between development time pattern and climatic inter-annual variability was observed. Our optimization model predicts that the developmental delays could be due to an adaptive risk-spreading diapause strategy, only if survival throughout the diapause period and the probability of random occurrence of “bad” environmental conditions are sufficiently high. Conclusions/Significance Developmental delay may not be a simple non-adaptive phenotypic plasticity in development time, and could be a form of adaptive diapause associated to a physiological mechanism related to the postponement of the initiation of reproduction, as an adaptation to environmental stochasticity through a spreading of risk (bet-hedging) strategy. We identify a series of parameters that can be measured in the field and laboratory to test
Vorob'eva, É I
Heightened interest in the evolutionary problems of developmental biology in the 1980s was due to the success of molecular genetics and disappointment in the synthetic theory of evolution, where the chapters of embryology and developmental biology seem to have been left out. Modern evo-devo, which turned out to be antipodean to the methodology of the synthetic theory of evolution, propagandized in the development of evolutionary problems only the mechanical and molecular genetic approach to the evolution of ontogenesis, based on cellular and intercellular interactions. The phonotypical approach to the evaluation of evolutionary occurrences in ontogenesis, which aids in the joining of the genetic and epigenetic levels of research, the theory of natural selection, the nomogenetic conception, and the problem of the wholeness of the organism in onto- and phylogenesis may be against this. The phenotypic approach to ontogenesis is methodologically the most perspective for evolutionary developmental biology.
Gorelick, Root; Marler, Thomas E
We recently described lack of phenotypic plasticity in reproductive organ development and substantial plasticity in vegetative organ development for the cycad Cycas micronesica. Is there an evo-devo explanation for the disparity in phenotypic plasticity of vegetative vs. reproductive organs? Despite modularity, might evolution of cycad phenology be controlled more by drift than selection?
Hernández Blasi, Carlos; Causey, Kayla
This is an introduction to this special issue on evolutionary psychology (EP) and evolutionary developmental psychology (EDP). We suggest here that, contrary to some common assumptions, mainstream psychology continues to be essentially non Darwinian and that EP and EDP are new approaches that can potentially help us to change this situation. We then present the organization of the special issue (composed of six papers). We conclude that evolution is certainly not the final consideration in psychology, but emphasize its importance as the basis upon which all modern behaviors and development are built.
Hart, Michael W
Evolutionary biologists studying life history variation have used echinoderms in experimental, laboratory, and field studies of life history evolution. This focus on echinoderms grew originally from the tradition of comparative embryology, in which echinoderms were central. The tools for obtaining and manipulating echinoderm gametes and larvae were taken directly from comparative embryological research. In addition, the comparative embryologists employed a diverse array of echinoderms, not a few model species, and this diversity has led to a broad understanding of the development, function, and evolution of echinoderm larvae. As a result, this branch of life history evolution has deep roots in comparative developmental biology of echinoderms. Here two main aspects of this relationship are reviewed. The first is a broad range of studies of fertilization biology, dispersal, population genetics, functional morphology, and asexual reproduction in which developmental biologists might take a keen interest because of the historical origins of this research in echinoderm comparative embryology. The second is a similarly broad variety of topics in life history research in which evolutionary biologists require techniques or data from developmental biology in order to make progress on understanding patterns of life history variation among echinoderm species and higher taxa. Both sets of topics provide opportunities for interaction and collaboration.
Chen, Bor-Sen; Hsu, Chih-Yuan; Liou, Jing-Jia
Artificial gene circuits have been proposed to be embedded into microbial cells that function as switches, timers, oscillators, and the Boolean logic gates. Building more complex systems from these basic gene circuit components is one key advance for biologic circuit design and synthetic biology. However, the behavior of bioengineered gene circuits remains unstable and uncertain. In this study, a nonlinear stochastic system is proposed to model the biological systems with intrinsic parameter fluctuations and environmental molecular noise from the cellular context in the host cell. Based on evolutionary systems biology algorithm, the design parameters of target gene circuits can evolve to specific values in order to robustly track a desired biologic function in spite of intrinsic and environmental noise. The fitness function is selected to be inversely proportional to the tracking error so that the evolutionary biological circuit can achieve the optimal tracking mimicking the evolutionary process of a gene circuit. Finally, several design examples are given in silico with the Monte Carlo simulation to illustrate the design procedure and to confirm the robust performance of the proposed design method. The result shows that the designed gene circuits can robustly track desired behaviors with minimal errors even with nontrivial intrinsic and external noise.
Hall, Brian K
This overview article highlights active areas of research in craniofacial genetics and developmental biology as reflected in presentations given at the 34th annual meeting of the Society of Craniofacial Genetics and Developmental Biology (SCGDB) in Montreal, Quebec on October 11, 2011. This 1-day meeting provided a stimulating occasion that demonstrated the present status of research in craniofacial genetics and developmental biology and where the field is heading. To accompany the abstracts published in this issue I have selected several themes that emerged from the meeting. After discussing the basis on which craniofacial defects/syndromes are classified and investigated, I address the multi-gene basis of craniofacial syndromes with an examination of the roles of Sox9 and FGF receptors in normal and abnormal craniofacial development. I then turn to the knowledge being gained from population-wide and longitudinal cohort studies and from the discovery of new signaling centers that regulate craniofacial development.
Evolutionary theory is undergoing an intense period of discussion and reevaluation. This, contrary to the misleading claims of creationists and other pseudoscientists, is no harbinger of a crisis but rather the opposite: the field is expanding dramatically in terms of both empirical discoveries and new ideas. In this essay I briefly trace the conceptual history of evolutionary theory from Darwinism to neo-Darwinism, and from the Modern Synthesis to what I refer to as the Extended Synthesis, a more inclusive conceptual framework containing among others evo-devo, an expanded theory of heredity, elements of complexity theory, ideas about evolvability, and a reevaluation of levels of selection. I argue that evolutionary biology has never seen a paradigm shift, in the philosophical sense of the term, except when it moved from natural theology to empirical science in the middle of the 19th century. The Extended Synthesis, accordingly, is an expansion of the Modern Synthesis of the 1930s and 1940s, and one that--like its predecessor--will probably take decades to complete.
Ross, L; Normark, B B
Centrosomes have been an enigma to evolutionary biologists. Either they have been the subject of ill-founded speculation or they have been ignored. Here, we highlight evolutionary paradoxes and problems of centrosome and centriole evolution and seek to understand them in the light of recent advances in centrosome biology. Most evolutionary accounts of centrosome evolution have been based on the hypothesis that centrosomes are replicators, independent of the nucleus and cytoplasm. It is now clear, however, that this hypothesis is not tenable. Instead, centrosomes are formed de novo each cell division, with the presence of an old centrosome regulating, but not essential for, the assembly of a new one. Centrosomes are the microtubule-organizing centres of cells. They can potentially affect sensory and motor characters (as the basal body of cilia), as well as the movements of chromosomes during cell division. This latter role does not seem essential, however, except in male meiosis, and the reasons for this remain unclear. Although the centrosome is absent in some taxa, when it is present, its structure is extraordinarily conserved: in most taxa across eukaryotes, it does not appear to evolve at all. And yet a few insect groups display spectacular hypertrophy of the centrioles. We discuss how this might relate to the unusual reproductive system found in these insects. Finally, we discuss why the fate of centrosomes in sperm and early embryos might differ between different groups of animals.
Nesse, Randolph M.; Bergstrom, Carl T.; Ellison, Peter T.; Flier, Jeffrey S.; Gluckman, Peter; Govindaraju, Diddahally R.; Niethammer, Dietrich; Omenn, Gilbert S.; Perlman, Robert L.; Schwartz, Mark D.; Thomas, Mark G.; Stearns, Stephen C.; Valle, David
New applications of evolutionary biology in medicine are being discovered at an accelerating rate, but few physicians have sufficient educational background to use them fully. This article summarizes suggestions from several groups that have considered how evolutionary biology can be useful in medicine, what physicians should learn about it, and when and how they should learn it. Our general conclusion is that evolutionary biology is a crucial basic science for medicine. In addition to looking at established evolutionary methods and topics, such as population genetics and pathogen evolution, we highlight questions about why natural selection leaves bodies vulnerable to disease. Knowledge about evolution provides physicians with an integrative framework that links otherwise disparate bits of knowledge. It replaces the prevalent view of bodies as machines with a biological view of bodies shaped by evolutionary processes. Like other basic sciences, evolutionary biology needs to be taught both before and during medical school. Most introductory biology courses are insufficient to establish competency in evolutionary biology. Premedical students need evolution courses, possibly ones that emphasize medically relevant aspects. In medical school, evolutionary biology should be taught as one of the basic medical sciences. This will require a course that reviews basic principles and specific medical applications, followed by an integrated presentation of evolutionary aspects that apply to each disease and organ system. Evolutionary biology is not just another topic vying for inclusion in the curriculum; it is an essential foundation for a biological understanding of health and disease. PMID:19918069
Renoult, Julien P; Kelber, Almut; Schaefer, H Martin
The recognition that animals sense the world in a different way than we do has unlocked important lines of research in ecology and evolutionary biology. In practice, the subjective study of natural stimuli has been permitted by perceptual spaces, which are graphical models of how stimuli are perceived by a given animal. Because colour vision is arguably the best-known sensory modality in most animals, a diversity of colour spaces are now available to visual ecologists, ranging from generalist and basic models allowing rough but robust predictions on colour perception, to species-specific, more complex models giving accurate but context-dependent predictions. Selecting among these models is most often influenced by historical contingencies that have associated models to specific questions and organisms; however, these associations are not always optimal. The aim of this review is to provide visual ecologists with a critical perspective on how models of colour space are built, how well they perform and where their main limitations are with regard to their most frequent uses in ecology and evolutionary biology. We propose a classification of models based on their complexity, defined as whether and how they model the mechanisms of chromatic adaptation and receptor opponency, the nonlinear association between the stimulus and its perception, and whether or not models have been fitted to experimental data. Then, we review the effect of modelling these mechanisms on predictions of colour detection and discrimination, colour conspicuousness, colour diversity and diversification, and for comparing the perception of colour traits between distinct perceivers. While a few rules emerge (e.g. opponent log-linear models should be preferred when analysing very distinct colours), in general model parameters still have poorly known effects. Colour spaces have nonetheless permitted significant advances in ecology and evolutionary biology, and more progress is expected if ecologists
Matthews, Blake; Narwani, Anita; Hausch, Stephen; Nonaka, Etsuko; Peter, Hannes; Yamamichi, Masato; Sullam, Karen E; Bird, Kali C; Thomas, Mridul K; Hanley, Torrance C; Turner, Caroline B
At present, the disciplines of evolutionary biology and ecosystem science are weakly integrated. As a result, we have a poor understanding of how the ecological and evolutionary processes that create, maintain, and change biological diversity affect the flux of energy and materials in global biogeochemical cycles. The goal of this article was to review several research fields at the interfaces between ecosystem science, community ecology and evolutionary biology, and suggest new ways to integrate evolutionary biology and ecosystem science. In particular, we focus on how phenotypic evolution by natural selection can influence ecosystem functions by affecting processes at the environmental, population and community scale of ecosystem organization. We develop an eco-evolutionary model to illustrate linkages between evolutionary change (e.g. phenotypic evolution of producer), ecological interactions (e.g. consumer grazing) and ecosystem processes (e.g. nutrient cycling). We conclude by proposing experiments to test the ecosystem consequences of evolutionary changes.
Avise, John C.
Discusses opportunities and challenges for the field of evolutionary biology, particularly in areas related to molecular genetic technologies, the environment, biodiversity, and public education. (Author/KHR)
Souza, K. A. (Editor); Halstead, T. W. (Editor)
The Life Sciences Division of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as part of its continuing assessment of its research program, convened a workshop on Developmental Biology to determine whether there are important scientific studies in this area which warrant continued or expanded NASA support. The workshop consisted of six panels, each of which focused on a single major phylogenetic group. The objectives of each panel were to determine whether gravity plays a role in the ontogeny of their subject group, to determine whether the microgravity of spaceflight can be used to help understand fundamental problems in developmental biology, to develop the rationale and hypotheses for conducting NASA-relevant research in development biology both on the ground and in space, and to identify any unique equipment and facilities that would be required to support both ground-based and spaceflight experiments.
Suarez, Andrew V; Tsutsui, Neil D
A major challenge of invasion biology is the development of a predictive framework that prevents new invasions. This is inherently difficult because different biological characteristics are important at the different stages of invasion: opportunity/transport, establishment and spread. Here, we draw from recent research on a variety of taxa to examine the evolutionary causes and consequences of biological invasions. The process of introduction may favour species with characteristics that promote success in highly disturbed, human-dominated landscapes, thus exerting novel forms of selection on introduced populations. Moreover, evidence is accumulating that multiple introductions can often be critical to the successful establishment and spread of introduced species, as they may be important sources of genetic variation necessary for adaptation in new environments or may permit the introduction of novel traits. Thus, not only should the introduction of new species be prevented, but substantial effort should also be directed to preventing the secondary introduction of previously established species (and even movement of individuals among introduced populations). Modern molecular techniques can take advantage of genetic changes postintroduction to determine the source of introduced populations and their vectors of spread, and to elucidate the mechanisms of success of some invasive species. Moreover, the growing availability of genomic tools will permit the identification of underlying genetic causes of invasive success.
Badyaev, Alexander V
In complex organisms, neutral evolution of genomic architecture, associated compensatory interactions in protein networks and emergent developmental processes can delineate the directions of evolutionary change, including the opportunity for natural selection. These effects are reflected in the evolution of developmental programmes that link genomic architecture with a corresponding functioning phenotype. Two recent findings call for closer examination of the rules by which these links are constructed. First is the realization that high dimensionality of genotypes and emergent properties of autonomous developmental processes (such as capacity for self-organization) result in the vast areas of fitness neutrality at both the phenotypic and genetic levels. Second is the ubiquity of context- and taxa-specific regulation of deeply conserved gene networks, such that exceptional phenotypic diversification coexists with remarkably conserved generative processes. Establishing the causal reciprocal links between ongoing neutral expansion of genomic architecture, emergent features of organisms' functionality, and often precisely adaptive phenotypic diversification therefore becomes an important goal of evolutionary biology and is the latest reincarnation of the search for a framework that links development, functioning and evolution of phenotypes. Here I examine, in the light of recent empirical advances, two evolutionary concepts that are central to this framework-natural selection and inheritance-the general rules by which they become associated with emergent developmental and homeostatic processes and the role that they play in descent with modification.
Tomlin, Claire J; Axelrod, Jeffrey D
In recent years, mathematical modelling of developmental processes has earned new respect. Not only have mathematical models been used to validate hypotheses made from experimental data, but designing and testing these models has led to testable experimental predictions. There are now impressive cases in which mathematical models have provided fresh insight into biological systems, by suggesting, for example, how connections between local interactions among system components relate to their wider biological effects. By examining three developmental processes and corresponding mathematical models, this Review addresses the potential of mathematical modelling to help understand development.
Martín-Durán, José M; Monjo, Francisco; Romero, Rafael
During the last decade, the field of evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo) has emerged as a major research discipline in modern biology and an essential approach to understanding evolutionary relationships in the animal kingdom. At the same time, planarians have become a useful and important model with which to address basic questions regarding the molecular and cellular basis of regeneration, tissue repair and stem cells in adult organisms. Nevertheless, little attention has been paid to their embryonic development, even though this provides a unique opportunity for studying how molecular developmental mechanisms are re-deployed during adult regeneration or the independent losses of spiral cleavage that took place in different lophotrochozoan lineages. In this paper, we review the most relevant works on planarian embryos from a historical point of view. In doing so, we highlight the questions that have recurrently intrigued researchers, most of which remain unanswered. Finally, we present a comprehensive scenario for planarian embryogenesis in an attempt to provide a testable hypothesis that will help to bridge the gap between this divergent mode of development, the ancestral canonical spiral cleavage, and adult planarian regeneration.
Smith, Kathleen K
Biologists have long studied the evolutionary consequences of the differences in reproductive and life history strategies of marsupial and eutherian mammals. Over the past few decades, the impact of these strategies on the development of the marsupial embryo and neonate has received attention. In this review, the differences in development in the craniofacial region in marsupial and eutherian mammals will be discussed. The review will highlight differences at the organogenic and cellular levels, and discuss hypotheses for shifts in the expression of important regulatory genes. The major difference in the organogenic period is a whole-scale shift in the relative timing of central nervous system structures, in particular those of the forebrain, which are delayed in marsupials, relative to the structures of the oral-facial apparatus. Correlated with the delay in development of nervous system structures, the ossification of the bones of the neurocranium are delayed, while those of the face are accelerated. This study will also review work showing that the neural crest, which provides much of the cellular material to the facial skeleton and may also carry important patterning information, is notably accelerated in its development in marsupials. Potential consequences of these observations for hypotheses on constraint, evolutionary integration, and the existence of developmental modules is discussed. Finally, the implications of these results for hypotheses on the genetic modulation of craniofacial patterning are presented.
Bjorklund, David F
Although agreeing with R. Lickliter and H. Honeycutt (2003) that evolutionary psychology lacks and should adopt a coherent developmental model to explain how evolved mechanisms become expressed in phenotypes, it is argued that adhering to the principles of developmental systems theory, despite enhancing evolutionary psychology, would not change appreciably its basic focus. The concepts of innateness and modularity, what is inherited and what evolves, as well as the possible role of developmental plasticity in the evolution of human cognition are discussed. It is proposed that evolutionary psychology can incorporate the developmental systems perspective into its theorizing, with the end result being a science that more closely reflects human nature.
Nagashima, Hiroshi; Kuraku, Shigehiro; Uchida, Katsuhisa; Kawashima-Ohya, Yoshie; Narita, Yuichi; Kuratani, Shigeru
The evolution of the turtle shell has long been one of the central debates in comparative anatomy. The turtle shell consists of dorsal and ventral parts: the carapace and plastron, respectively. The basic structure of the carapace comprises vertebrae and ribs. The pectoral girdle of turtles sits inside the carapace or the rib cage, in striking contrast to the body plan of other tetrapods. Due to this topological change in the arrangement of skeletal elements, the carapace has been regarded as an example of evolutionary novelty that violates the ancestral body plan of tetrapods. Comparing the spatial relationships of anatomical structures in the embryos of turtles and other amniotes, we have shown that the topology of the musculoskeletal system is largely conserved even in turtles. The positional changes seen in the ribs and pectoral girdle can be ascribed to turtle-specific folding of the lateral body wall in the late developmental stages. Whereas the ribs of other amniotes grow from the axial domain to the lateral body wall, turtle ribs remain arrested axially. Marginal growth of the axial domain in turtle embryos brings the morphologically short ribs in to cover the scapula dorsocaudally. This concentric growth appears to be induced by the margin of the carapace, which involves an ancestral gene expression cascade in a new location. These comparative developmental data allow us to hypothesize the gradual evolution of turtles, which is consistent with the recent finding of a transitional fossil animal, Odontochelys, which did not have the carapace but already possessed the plastron.
Spooner, B. S.
The paucity of data on the role of gravity in cellular and developmental biology has been examined, and a hypothesis has been generated that unifies potential gravity sensitivity in both plant and animal systems. This hypothesis considers the macromolecular order and functional importance of the extracellular matrix compartment, the intracellular cytoskeleton compartment, and the connecting plasma membrane-signal transduction compartment of plant and animal systems as potentially sensitive to alterations in the unit gravity environment in which they evolved.
Passmore, Cynthia; Stewart, Jim
Describes the commitments and research that went into the design of a 9-week high school course in evolutionary biology designed to bring students to an understanding of the practice of evolutionary biology by engaging them in developing, elaborating, and using one of the discipline's most important explanatory models. (Contains 39 references.)…
Wilt, Fred H
Biomineralization is the process by which metazoa form hard minerals for support, defense, and feeding. The minerals so formed, e.g., teeth, bones, shells, carapaces, and spicules, are of considerable interest to chemists and materials scientists. The cell biology underlying biomineralization is not well understood. The study of the formation of mineralized structures in developing organisms offers opportunities for understanding some intriguing aspects of cell and developmental biology. Five examples of biomineralization are presented: (1) the formation of siliceous spicules and frustules in sponges and diatoms, respectively; (2) the structure of skeletal spicules composed of amorphous calcium carbonate in some tunicates; (3) the secretion of the prism and nacre of some molluscan shells; (4) the development of skeletal spicules of sea urchin embryos; and (5) the formation of enamel of vertebrate teeth. Some speculations on the cellular and molecular mechanisms that support biomineralization, and their evolutionary origins, are discussed.
Ripoll, J; Koberstein-Schwarz, B; Ntziachristos, V
The past decade marked an optical revolution in biology: an unprecedented number of optical techniques were developed and adopted for biological exploration, demonstrating increasing interest in optical imaging and in vivo interrogations. Optical methods have become faster and have reached nanoscale resolution, and are now complemented by optoacoustic (photoacoustic) methods capable of imaging whole specimens in vivo. Never before were so many optical imaging barriers broken in such a short time-frame: with new approaches to optical microscopy and mesoscopy came an increased ability to image biology at unprecedented speed, resolution, and depth. This review covers the most relevant techniques for imaging in developmental biology, and offers an outlook on the next steps for these technologies and their applications.
The anatomy and ontogeny of the head, neck, pectoral, and upper limb muscles of Lemur catta and Propithecus coquereli (primates): discussion on the parallelism between ontogeny and phylogeny and implications for evolutionary and developmental biology.
Diogo, Rui; Molnar, Julia L; Smith, Timothy D
Most anatomical studies of primates focus on skeletal tissues, but muscular anatomy can provide valuable information about phylogeny, functional specializations, and evolution. Herein, we present the first detailed description of the head, neck, pectoral, and upper limb muscles of the fetal lemuriforms Lemur catta (Lemuridae) and Propithecus coquereli (Indriidae). These two species belong to the suborder Strepsirrhini, which is often presumed to possess some plesiomorphic anatomical features within primates. We compare the muscular anatomy of the fetuses with that of infants and adults and discuss the evolutionary and developmental implications. The fetal anatomy reflects a phylogenetically more plesiomorphic condition in nine of the muscles we studied and a more derived condition in only two, supporting a parallel between ontogeny and phylogeny. The derived exceptions concern muscles with additional insertions in the fetus which are lost in adults of the same species, that is, flexor carpi radialis inserts on metacarpal III and levator claviculae inserts on the clavicle. Interestingly, these two muscles are involved in movements of the pectoral girdle and upper limb, which are mainly important for activities in later stages of life, such as locomotion and prey capture, rather than activities in fetal life. Accordingly, our findings suggest that some exceptions to the "ontogeny parallels phylogeny" rule are probably driven more by ontogenetic constraints than by adaptive plasticity.
Turner, Neill J; Keane, Timothy J; Badylak, Stephen F
The ultimate goal of regenerative medicine is the functional restoration of lost or damaged tissues and organs. Since most tissues in man lack true regenerative properties and instead respond to injury with an inflammatory response and scar tissue formation, regenerative medicine strategies that include combinations of cells, scaffolds, and bioactive molecules to replace injured or missing tissues have been developed. The physical, chemical, and electrical cues that define the microenvironmental niche and the effect of these influences upon cell behavior during development are of interest to developmental biologists, with obvious overlap to the interest of the regenerative medicine field. This manuscript provides an overview of current approaches for tissue restoration being investigated in the field of regenerative medicine and attempts to identify areas of mutual beneficial interest with the field of developmental biology.
Lau, Jennifer A
Just as ecological indirect effects can have a wide range of consequences for community structure and ecosystem function, theory suggests that evolutionary indirect effects can also influence community dynamics and the outcome of species interactions. There is little empirical evidence documenting such effects, however. Here, I use a multi-generation selection experiment in the field to investigate: (1) how the exotic plant Medicago polymorpha and the exotic insect herbivore Hypera brunneipennis affect the evolution of anti-herbivore resistance traits in the native plant Lotus wrangelianus and (2) how observed Lotus evolutionary responses to Hypera alter interactions between Lotus and other members of the herbivore community. In one of two study populations, I document rapid evolutionary changes in Lotus resistance to Hypera in response to insecticide treatments that experimentally reduced Hypera abundance, and in response to Medicago-removal treatments that also reduced Hypera abundance. These evolutionary changes in response to Hypera result in reduced attack by aphids. Thus, an evolutionary change caused by one herbivore species alters interactions with other herbivore taxa, an example of an eco-evolutionary feedback. Given that many traits mediate interactions with multiple species, the effects of evolutionary changes in response to one key biotic selective agent may often cascade through interaction webs to influence additional community members.
Dunn, Robert R; Beasley, DeAnna E
The engagement of the public in the scientific process is an old practice. Yet with recent advances in technology, the role of the citizen scientist in studying evolutionary processes has increased. Insects provide ideal models for understanding these evolutionary processes at large scales. This review highlights how insect-based citizen science has led to the expansion of specimen collections and reframed research questions in light of new observations and unexpected discoveries. Given the rapid expansion of human-modified (and inhabited) environments, the degree to which the public can participate in insect-based citizen science will allow us to track and monitor evolutionary trends at a global scale.
Campos-Sanchez, Elena; Toboso-Navasa, Amparo; Romero-Camarero, Isabel; Barajas-Diego, Marcos
The latest scientific findings in the field of cancer research are redefining our understanding of the molecular and cellular basis of the disease, moving the emphasis toward the study of the mechanisms underlying the alteration of the normal processes of cellular differentiation. The concepts best exemplifying this new vision are those of cancer stem cells and tumoral reprogramming. The study of the biology of acute lymphoblastic leukemias (ALLs) has provided seminal experimental evidence supporting these new points of view. Furthermore, in the case of B cells, it has been shown that all the stages of their normal development show a tremendous degree of plasticity, allowing them to be reprogrammed to other cellular types, either normal or leukemic. Here we revise the most recent discoveries in the fields of B-cell developmental plasticity and B-ALL research and discuss their interrelationships and their implications for our understanding of the biology of the disease. PMID:22031225
Stoops, John L.
As is becoming increasingly clear, the human species evolvedin the East African savannah. Details of the precise evolutionary chainremain unresolved however it appears that the process lasted severalmillion years, culminating with the emergence of modern Homo sapiensroughly 200,000 years ago. Following that final evolutionary developmentmodern Homo sapiens relatively quickly populated the entire world.Clearly modern Homo sapiens is a successful, resourceful and adaptablespecies. In the developed societies, modern humans live an existence farremoved from our evolutionary ancestors. As we have learned over the lastcentury, this "new" lifestyle can often result in unintendedconsequences. Clearly, our modern access to food, shelter, transportationand healthcare has resulted in greatly expanded expected lifespan butthis new lifestyle can also result in the emergence of different kinds ofdiseases and health problems. The environment in modern buildings haslittle resemblance to the environment of the savannah. We strive tocreate environments with little temperature, air movement and lightvariation. Building occupants often express great dissatisfaction withthese modern created environments and a significant fraction even developsomething akin to allergies to specific buildings (sick buildingsyndrome). Are the indoor environments we are creating fundamentallyunhealthy -- when examined from an evolutionary perspective?
I apply evolutionary perspectives and conceptual tools to analyse central issues underlying child health, with emphases on the roles of human-specific adaptations and genomic conflicts in physical growth and development. Evidence from comparative primatology, anthropology, physiology and human disorders indicates that child health risks have evolved in the context of evolutionary changes, along the human lineage, affecting the timing, growth-differentiation phenotypes and adaptive significance of prenatal stages, infancy, childhood, juvenility and adolescence. The most striking evolutionary changes in humans are earlier weaning and prolonged subsequent pre-adult stages, which have structured and potentiated maladaptations related to growth and development. Data from human genetic and epigenetic studies, and mouse models, indicate that growth, development and behaviour during pre-adult stages are mediated to a notable degree by effects from genomic conflicts and imprinted genes. The incidence of cancer, the primary cause of non-infectious childhood mortality, mirrors child growth rates from birth to adolescence, with paediatric cancer development impacted by imprinted genes that control aspects of growth. Understanding the adaptive significance of child growth and development phenotypes, in the context of human-evolutionary changes and genomic conflicts, provides novel insights into the causes of disease in childhood.
Diogo, Rui; Smith, Christopher M; Ziermann, Janine M
We introduce a new subfield of the recently created field of Evolutionary-Developmental-Anthropology (Evo-Devo-Anth): Evolutionary-Developmental-Pathology-and-Anthropology (Evo-Devo-P'Anth). This subfield combines experimental and developmental studies of nonhuman model organisms, biological anthropology, chordate comparative anatomy and evolution, and the study of normal and pathological human development. Instead of focusing on other organisms to try to better understand human development, evolution, anatomy, and pathology, it places humans as the central case study, i.e., as truly model organism themselves. We summarize the results of our recent Evo-Devo-P'Anth studies and discuss long-standing questions in each of the broader biological fields combined in this subfield, paying special attention to the links between: (1) Human anomalies and variations, nonpentadactyly, homeotic transformations, and "nearest neighbor" vs. "find and seek" muscle-skeleton associations in limb+facial muscles vs. other head muscles; (2) Developmental constraints, the notion of "phylotypic stage," internalism vs. externalism, and the "logic of monsters" vs. "lack of homeostasis" views about human birth defects; (3) Human evolution, reversions, atavisms, paedomorphosis, and peromorphosis; (4) Scala naturae, Haeckelian recapitulation, von Baer's laws, and parallelism between phylogeny and development, here formally defined as "Phylo-Devo parallelism"; and (5) Patau, Edwards, and Down syndrome (trisomies 13, 18, 21), atavisms, apoptosis, heart malformations, and medical implications.
Abe, Gembu; Ota, Kinya G
Vertebrate morphology has been evolutionarily modified by natural and/or artificial selection. The morphological variation of goldfish is a representative example. In particular, the twin-tail strain of ornamental goldfish shows highly diverged anal and caudal fin morphology: bifurcated anal and caudal fins. Recent molecular developmental genetics research revealed that a stop codon mutation in one of the two recently duplicated chordin genes is important for the highly diverged fin morphology of twin-tail goldfish. However, some issues still need to be discussed in the context of evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo). For example, the bifurcated anal and caudal fins of twin-tail goldfish provided early researchers with insights into the origin of paired fins (pectoral and pelvic fins), but no subsequent researchers have discussed this topic. In addition, although the fossil jawless vertebrate species Euphanerops is also known to have had a bifurcated anal fin, how the bifurcated anal fin of twin-tail goldfish is related to that of fossil jawless vertebrate species has never been investigated. In this review, we present an overview of the early anatomical and embryological studies of twin-tail goldfish. Moreover, based on the similarity of embryonic features between the secondarily bifurcated competent stripe in twin-tail goldfish and the trunk bilateral competent stripes in conventional gnathostomes, we hypothesized that they share the same molecular developmental mechanisms. We also postulate that the bifurcated anal fin of Euphanerops might be caused by the same type of modification of dorsal-ventral patterning that occurs in the twin-tail goldfish, unlike the previously suggested evolutionary process that required the co-option of paired fin developmental mechanisms. Understanding the molecular developmental genetics of twin-tail goldfish allows us to further investigate the evolutionary developmental mechanisms of the origin of paired fins.
Buss, David M; Reeve, H Kern
Evolutionary psychology provides a cogent metatheory for psychological science. It has furnished compelling theories of major domains of human functioning, including mating, parenting, kinship, morality, cooperation, conflict, aggression, and aesthetics. It has produced hundreds of empirical discoveries missed entirely by prior psychologists. Developmental dynamics, properly conceived, can add to the theoretical foundation of evolutionary psychology. But it has not provided alternative theories capable of explaining the many detailed empirical discoveries made by evolutionary' psychologists. Nor has it generated a comparable bounty of new empirical discoveries. By critical scientific standards--theoretical cogency, predictive accuracy, interdisciplinary consistency, and empirical harvest--modern evolutionary psychology fares well compared with alternatives.
Thorsteinsdóttir, Sólveig; Rodrigues, Gabriela; Crespo, Eduardo G
Developmental Biology has established itself as a solid field of teaching and research in Portugal. Its history is recent, generally considered to have started with the pioneering work of Augusto Celestino da Costa at the beginning of the 20th century. However, research groups were very few and, until the early 1990s, teaching beyond morphological and comparative embryology was uncommon. In 1994, the first university course dedicated to Developmental Biology as a separate field from Embryology was created at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon and a course on Plant Differentiation and Morphogenesis was also initiated. A Masters programme in Developmental Biology followed at the Lusofona University in 1996. Subsequently, modules of Developmental Biology were included in many Embryology courses and eventually more Developmental Biology courses were created. From 1999 onwards, the number of research groups working in Developmental Biology started to increase, many of which were initiated by researchers who had had the opportunity to pursue their PhD and/or post-doc studies abroad. The Instituto Gulbenkian de Cincia (Gulbenkian Institute of Science) became the first home of most of these groups, but several later spread to other institutions. This increased activity in turn has stimulated teaching of Developmental Biology and more students have been getting interested in the field. This positive feedback loop makes it a nice time to be teaching and working in Developmental Biology in Portugal.
The formation of any tissue involves differentiation, cell dynamics and interactions with adjacent tissues. This paper suggests that the complexity of the system as a whole can be represented as a mathematical graph, that is, a set of connected triples of the general form [term]
The formation of any tissue involves differentiation, cell dynamics and interactions with adjacent tissues. This paper suggests that the complexity of the system as a whole can be represented as a mathematical graph, that is, a set of connected triples of the general form [term]
Renda, Brian A; Hammerling, Michael J; Barrick, Jeffrey E
The field of synthetic biology seeks to engineer reliable and predictable behaviors in organisms from collections of standardized genetic parts. However, unlike other types of machines, genetically encoded biological systems are prone to changes in their designed sequences due to mutations in their DNA sequences after these devices are constructed and deployed. Thus, biological engineering efforts can be confounded by undesired evolution that rapidly breaks the functions of parts and systems, particularly when they are costly to the host cell to maintain. Here, we explain the fundamental properties that determine the evolvability of biological systems. Then, we use this framework to review current efforts to engineer the DNA sequences that encode synthetic biology devices and the genomes of their microbial hosts to reduce their ability to evolve and therefore increase their genetic reliability so that they maintain their intended functions over longer timescales.
Wellenreuther, Maren; Otto, Sarah
The face of science has changed. Women now feature alongside men at the forefront of many fields, and this is particularly true in evolutionary biology. This special issue celebrates the outstanding achievements and contributions of women in evolutionary biology, by highlighting a sample of their research and accomplishments. In addition to original research contributions, this collection of articles contains personal reflections to provide perspective and advice on succeeding as a woman in science. By showcasing the diversity and research excellence of women and drawing on their experiences, we wish to enhance the visibility of female scientists and provide inspiration as well as role models. These are exciting times for evolutionary biology, and the field is richer and stronger for the diversity of voices contributing to the field.
The concept of emergence and the related notion of 'downward causation' have arisen in numerous branches of science, and have also been extensively discussed in philosophy. Here, I examine emergence and downward causation in relation to evolutionary biology. I focus on the old, but ongoing discussion in evolutionary biology over the 'levels of selection' question: which level(s) of the biological hierarchy natural selection acts at, e.g. the gene, individual, group or species level? The concept of emergence has arisen in the levels-of-selection literature as a putative way of distinguishing between 'true' selection at a higher level from cases where selection acts solely at the lower level but has effects that percolate up the biological hierarchy, generating the appearance of higher level selection. At first blush, this problem seems to share a common structure with debates about emergence in other areas, but closer examination shows that it turns on issues that are sui generis to biology.
Differentiation and development of parasites, including longevity in host animals, are thought to be governed by host-parasite interactions. In this review, several topics on the developmental biology of cestode infections are discussed from immunobiological perspective with a focus on Hymenolepis, Taenia and Echinococcus infections. The basic premise of this review is that 'differentiation and development of cestodes' are somehow affected by host immune responses with an evolutionary history.
de Vladar, Harold P; Barton, Nicholas H
Evolutionary biology shares many concepts with statistical physics: both deal with populations, whether of molecules or organisms, and both seek to simplify evolution in very many dimensions. Often, methodologies have undergone parallel and independent development, as with stochastic methods in population genetics. Here, we discuss aspects of population genetics that have embraced methods from physics: non-equilibrium statistical mechanics, travelling waves and Monte-Carlo methods, among others, have been used to study polygenic evolution, rates of adaptation and range expansions. These applications indicate that evolutionary biology can further benefit from interactions with other areas of statistical physics; for example, by following the distribution of paths taken by a population through time.
Pintor, Lauren M; Brown, Joel S; Vincent, Thomas L
Although biological invasions pose serious threats to biodiversity, they also provide the opportunity to better understand interactions between the ecological and evolutionary processes structuring populations and communities. However, ecoevolutionary frameworks for studying species invasions are lacking. We propose using game theory and the concept of an evolutionarily stable strategy (ESS) as a conceptual framework for integrating the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of invasions. We suggest that the pathways by which a recipient community may have no ESS provide mechanistic hypotheses for how such communities may be vulnerable to invasion and how invaders can exploit these vulnerabilities. We distinguish among these pathways by formalizing the evolutionary contexts of the invader relative to the recipient community. We model both the ecological and the adaptive dynamics of the interacting species. We show how the ESS concept provides new mechanistic hypotheses for when invasions result in long- or short-term increases in biodiversity, species replacement, and subsequent evolutionary changes.
Kuratani, Shigeru; Kuraku, Shigehiro; Nagashima, Hiroshi
The body plan of the turtle represents an example of evolutionary novelty for acquisition of the shell. Unlike similar armors in other vertebrate groups, the turtle shell involves the developmental repatterning of the axial skeleton and exhibits an unusual topography of musculoskeletal elements. Thus, the turtle provides an ideal case study for understanding changes in the developmental program associated with the morphological evolution of vertebrates. In this article, the evolution of the turtle-specific body plan is reviewed and discussed. The key to understanding shell patterning lies in the modification of the ribs, for which the carapacial ridge (CR), a turtle-specific embryonic anlage, is assumed to be responsible. The growth of the ribs is arrested in the axial part of the body, allowing dorsal and lateral oriented growth to encapsulate the scapula. Although the CR does not appear to induce this axial arrest per se, it has been shown to support the fan-shaped patterning of the ribs, which occurs concomitant with marginal growth of the carapace along the line of the turtle-specific folding that takes place in the lateral body wall. During the process of the folding, some trunk muscles maintain their ancestral connectivities, whereas the limb muscles establish new attachments specific to the turtle. The turtle body plan can thus be explained with our knowledge of vertebrate anatomy and developmental biology, consistent with the evolutionary origin of the turtle suggested by the recently discovered fossil species, Odontochelys.
Ravignani, Andrea; Cook, Peter F
Recently psychologists have taken up the question of whether dance is reliant on unique human adaptations, or whether it is rooted in neural and cognitive mechanisms shared with other species [1,2]. In its full cultural complexity, human dance clearly has no direct analog in animal behavior. Most definitions of dance include the consistent production of movement sequences timed to an external rhythm. While not sufficient for dance, modes of auditory-motor timing, such as synchronization and entrainment, are experimentally tractable constructs that may be analyzed and compared between species. In an effort to assess the evolutionary precursors to entrainment and social features of human dance, Laland and colleagues  have suggested that dance may be an incidental byproduct of adaptations supporting vocal or motor imitation - referred to here as the 'imitation and sequencing' hypothesis. In support of this hypothesis, Laland and colleagues rely on four convergent lines of evidence drawn from behavioral and neurobiological research on dance behavior in humans and rhythmic behavior in other animals. Here, we propose a less cognitive, more parsimonious account for the evolution of dance. Our 'timing and interaction' hypothesis suggests that dance is scaffolded off of broadly conserved timing mechanisms allowing both cooperative and antagonistic social coordination.
Provides an evolutionary account of the human affectional system. Warmth is conceptualized as a reward system which evolved to facilitate cohesive family relationships and paternal investment in children. Warmth must be distinguished from security of attachment. Relationships based on warmth can coexist with relationships based on exploitation.…
Thomas, A. T.
Understanding of the calcified composite eyes of trilobites, the oldest preserved visual system, has advanced greatly in recent decades. Three types of trilobite eye occur, the more derived abathochroal and schizochroal types having evolved neotenically from holochroal eyes. Comparative morphology and phylogenetic considerations suggest that all three eye-types were underlain by common developmental systems. So far, understanding of these systems has been based entirely on morphological data from fossils, particularly the way the visual surface grew and the patterning of lens emplacement. Lenses characteristically form a hexagonal array comprising horizontal rows and, conspicuously in schizochroal eyes, dorso-ventral files. Because individual trilobites sometimes have eyes with different numbers of files, file number must reflect the operation of a developmental programme rather than being under immediate genetic control. An empirical developmental model has been devised to describe trilobite eye development, with separate rules dealing with the initiation of lens emplacement, growth and differentiation of the visual surface, and the termination of lens emplacement. Rarely, trilobites may have visual surfaces of normal size, but which lack lenses. This confirms that visual surface growth must have been regulated separately from lens emplacement, and is a feature that cannot be accounted for by the existing developmental model. Such a developmental separation is one of a number of similarities shared with Drosophila, the modern arthropod in which eye development is best understood. Many aspects of eye development are conserved in the Euarthropoda, and in bilaterian metazoans in general. A revised model for trilobite eye development is proposed using extant phylogenetic bracketing, interpreting morphological data from the fossils in the context of the hierarchy of developmental controls now becoming known from living animals. This new model suggests that overall eye
The historical approach to the sciences has undergone a sea change during recent decades. Maybe the major contribution of Hans-Jörg Rheinberger to this movement was his demonstration of the importance of experimental systems, and of their transformations, in the development of the sciences. To describe these transformations, Hans-Jörg borrows metaphors from evolutionary biology. I want to argue that evolutionary biologists can find in these recent historical studies plenty of models and concepts to address unresolved issues in their discipline. At a time when transdisciplinarity is highly praised, it is useful to provide a precise description of the obstacles that have so far prevented this exchange.
Tsai, Hsin-Yuan; Chang, Mariann; Liu, Shih-Chieh; Abe, Gembu; Ota, Kinya G
Background: Highly divergent morphology among the different goldfish strains (Carassius auratus) may make it a suitable model for investigating how artificial selection has altered developmental mechanisms. Here we describe the embryological development of the common goldfish (the single fin Wakin), which retains the ancestral morphology of this species. Results: We divided goldfish embryonic development into seven periods consisting of 34 stages, using previously reported developmental indices of zebrafish and goldfish. Although several differences were identified in terms of their yolk size, epiboly process, pigmentation patterns, and development rate, our results indicate that the embryonic features of these two teleost species are highly similar in their overall morphology from the zygote to hatching stage. Conclusions: These results provide an opportunity for further study of the evolutionary relationship between domestication and development, through applying well-established zebrafish molecular biological resources to goldfish embryos. Developmental Dynamics 242:1262–1283, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Key findings This study provides the first reliable descriptions of normal embryonic stages of wild-type goldfish. The embryonic features of goldfish and zebrafish are almost directly comparable. Goldfish embryos provide a novel model for the investigation of the evolutionary relationship between domestication and development. PMID:23913853
Takechi, Masaki; Kuratani, Shigeru
The mammalian middle ear represents one of the most fundamental morphological features that define this class of vertebrates. Its skeletal pattern differs conspicuously from those of other amniotes and has attracted the attention of comparative zoologists for about 200 years. To reconcile this morphological inconsistency, early comparative morphologists suggested that the mammalian middle ear was derived from elements of the jaw joint of nonmammalian amniotes. Fossils of mammalian ancestors also implied a transition in skeletal morphology that resulted in the mammalian state. During the latter half of the 20th century, developmental mechanisms controlling the formation of the jaw skeleton became the subject of studies in developmental biology and molecular genetics. Mammalian middle ear evolution can now be interpreted as a series of changes in the developmental program of the pharyngeal arches. In this review, we summarize the history of middle ear research, highlight some of the remaining problems, and suggest possible future directions. We propose that to understand mammalian middle ear evolution, it is essential to identify the critical developmental events underlying the particular mammalian anatomy and to describe the evolutionary sequence of changes in developmental and molecular terms. We also discuss the degree of consistency between the developmental explanation of the mammalian middle ear based on molecular biology and morphological changes in the fossil record.
Sato, Atsuko; Bishop, John D D; Holland, Peter W H
Hemichordates, like echinoderms and chordates, are deuterostomes, and study of their developmental biology could shed light on chordate origins. To date, molecular developmental studies in hemichordates have been confined to the enteropneusts or acorn worms. Here, we introduce the developmental biology of the other group of hemichordate, the pterobranchs. Pterobranchs generally live in cold, deep waters; this has hampered studies of this group. However, about 40 years ago, the colonial pterobranchs Rhabdopleura compacta and R. normani were discovered from shallow water, which has facilitated their study. Using Rhabdopleura compacta from south-west England, we have initiated molecular developmental studies in pterobranchs. Here, we outline methods for collecting adults, larvae, and embryos and demonstrate culturing of larvae under laboratory conditions. Given that the larval and adult forms differ from enteropneusts, we suggest that molecular developmental studies of pterobranchs may offer new insights into chordate origins.
Soyer, Orkun S; O'Malley, Maureen A
Evolutionary systems biology (ESB) is a rapidly growing integrative approach that has the core aim of generating mechanistic and evolutionary understanding of genotype-phenotype relationships at multiple levels. ESB's more specific objectives include extending knowledge gained from model organisms to non-model organisms, predicting the effects of mutations, and defining the core network structures and dynamics that have evolved to cause particular intracellular and intercellular responses. By combining mathematical, molecular, and cellular approaches to evolution, ESB adds new insights and methods to the modern evolutionary synthesis, and offers ways in which to enhance its explanatory and predictive capacities. This combination of prediction and explanation marks ESB out as a research manifesto that goes further than its two contributing fields. Here, we summarize ESB via an analysis of characteristic research examples and exploratory questions, while also making a case for why these integrative efforts are worth pursuing.
The aim of this brief review article is to help to reconcile medicine with evolutionary biology, a subject that should be taught in medical school. Evolutionary medicine takes the view that contemporary ills are related to an incompatibility between the environment in which humans currently live and their genomes, which have been shaped by diferent environmental conditions during biological evolution. Human activity has recently induced acute environmental modifications that have profoundly changed the medical landscape. Evolutionary biology is an irreversible, ongoing and discontinuous process characterized by periods of stasis followed by accelerations. Evolutionary biology is determined by genetic mutations, which are selected either by Darwinian selective pressure or randomly by genetic drift. Most medical events result from a genome/environment conflict. Some may be purely genetic, as in monogenic diseases, and others purely environmental, such as traffic accidents. Nevertheless, in most common diseases the clinical landscape is determined by the conflict between these two factors, the genetic elements of which are gradually being unraveled Three examples are examined in depth:--The medical consequences of the greenhouse effect. The absence of excess mortality during recent heat waves suggests that the main determinant of mortality in the 2003 heatwave was heatstroke and old age. The projected long-term effects of global warming call for research on thermolysis, a forgotten branch of physiology.--The hygiene hypothesis postulates that the exponential rise in autoimmune and allergic diseases is linked to lesser exposure to infectious agents, possibly involving counter-regulatory factors such as IL-10.--The recent rise in the incidence of obesity and type 2 diabetes in rich countries can be considered to result from a conflict between a calorie-rich environment and gene variants that control appetite. These variants are currently being identified by genome
Futuyma, Douglas J.; Meagher, Thomas R.
Discusses ways of advancing understanding of evolutionary biology which seeks to explain all the characteristics of organisms. Describes the goals of evolutionary biology, why it is important, and how it contributes to society and basic science. (ASK)
Yoo, Mi-Jeong; Wendel, Jonathan F
The single-celled cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) fiber provides an excellent model to investigate how human selection affects phenotypic evolution. To gain insight into the evolutionary genomics of cotton domestication, we conducted comparative transcriptome profiling of developing cotton fibers using RNA-Seq. Analysis of single-celled fiber transcriptomes from four wild and five domesticated accessions from two developmental time points revealed that at least one-third and likely one-half of the genes in the genome are expressed at any one stage during cotton fiber development. Among these, ~5,000 genes are differentially expressed during primary and secondary cell wall synthesis between wild and domesticated cottons, with a biased distribution among chromosomes. Transcriptome data implicate a number of biological processes affected by human selection, and suggest that the domestication process has prolonged the duration of fiber elongation in modern cultivated forms. Functional analysis suggested that wild cottons allocate greater resources to stress response pathways, while domestication led to reprogrammed resource allocation toward increased fiber growth, possibly through modulating stress-response networks. This first global transcriptomic analysis using multiple accessions of wild and domesticated cottons is an important step toward a more comprehensive systems perspective on cotton fiber evolution. The understanding that human selection over the past 5,000+ years has dramatically re-wired the cotton fiber transcriptome sets the stage for a deeper understanding of the genetic architecture underlying cotton fiber synthesis and phenotypic evolution.
Galaburda, Albert M.
The author considers cerebral dominance and brain asymmetry, the development of the cerebral cortex and examples of aberrancy, and diseases of the immune system, all of which relate to recent anatomical and epidemiological findings in developmental dyslexia. These discoveries have led to testable hypotheses which may enhance current understandings…
Locke, John L.
Since language is a biological trait, it is necessary to investigate its evolution, development, and functions, along with the mechanisms that have been set aside, and are now recruited, for its acquisition and use. It is argued here that progress toward each of these goals can be facilitated by new programs of research, carried out within a new…
Information is a key concept in evolutionary biology. Information stored in a biological organism's genome is used to generate the organism and to maintain and control it. Information is also that which evolves. When a population adapts to a local environment, information about this environment is fixed in a representative genome. However, when an environment changes, information can be lost. At the same time, information is processed by animal brains to survive in complex environments, and the capacity for information processing also evolves. Here, I review applications of information theory to the evolution of proteins and to the evolution of information processing in simulated agents that adapt to perform a complex task.
The vertebrate pharyngeal apparatus, serving the dual functions of feeding and respiration, has its embryonic origin in a series of bulges found on the lateral surface of the head, the pharyngeal arches. Developmental studies have been able to discern how these structures are constructed and this has opened the way for an analysis of how the pharyngeal apparatus was assembled and modified during evolution. For many years, the role of the neural crest in organizing pharyngeal development was emphasized and, as this was believed to be a uniquely vertebrate cell type, it was suggested that the development of the pharyngeal apparatus of vertebrates was distinct from that of other chordates. However, it has now been established that a key event in vertebrate pharyngeal development is the outpocketing of the endoderm to form the pharyngeal pouches. Significantly, outpocketing of the pharyngeal endoderm is a basal deuterostome character and the regulatory network that mediates this process is conserved. Thus, the framework around which the vertebrate pharyngeal apparatus is built is ancient. The pharyngeal arches of vertebrates are, however, more complex and this can be ascribed to these structures being populated by neural crest cells, which form the skeletal support of the pharynx, and mesoderm, which will give rise to the musculature and the arch arteries. Within the vertebrates, as development progresses beyond the phylotypic stage, the pharyngeal apparatus has also been extensively remodelled and this has seemingly involved radical alterations to the developmental programme. Recent studies, however, have shown that these alterations were not as dramatic as previously believed. Thus, while the evolution of amniotes was believed to have involved the loss of gills and their covering, the operculum, it is now apparent that neither of these structures was completely lost. Rather, the gills were transformed into the parathyroid glands and the operculum still exists as an
Clack, Jennifer A.
After a brief historical review of the fin to limb transition and consideration of a theoretical “prototetrapod,” this article considers new ideas generated from recent fossil finds and from developmental biology that bear on the question of how limbs, digits, limb joints, and pentadactyly evolved. Among the first changes to take place were those to the humerus, in concert with those to the breathing apparatus, and these adaptations were acquired while the animals were still basically aquatic with the evolution of digits occurring during this phase. Studies from developmental biology of modern taxa can be integrated with information from fossils to produce a fuller picture. The acquisition of pentadactyly was among the last changes to occur in the modification of a fin into a limb. This vision differs radically from older theoretical ideas which perceived land locomotion as the prime evolutionary force driving the transition.
Heuzé, Yann; Kawasaki, Kazuhiko; Schwarz, Tobias; Schoenebeck, Jeffrey J.
ABSTRACT The zygomatic bone is derived evolutionarily from the orbital series. In most modern mammals the zygomatic bone forms a large part of the face and usually serves as a bridge that connects the facial skeleton to the neurocranium. Our aim is to provide information on the contribution of the zygomatic bone to variation in midfacial protrusion using three samples; humans, domesticated dogs, and monkeys. In each case, variation in midface protrusion is a heritable trait produced by one of three classes of transmission: localized dysmorphology associated with single gene dysfunction, selective breeding, or long‐term evolution from a common ancestor. We hypothesize that the shape of the zygomatic bone reflects its role in stabilizing the connection between facial skeleton and neurocranium and consequently, changes in facial protrusion are more strongly reflected by the maxilla and premaxilla. Our geometric morphometric analyses support our hypothesis suggesting that the shape of the zygomatic bone has less to do with facial protrusion. By morphometrically dissecting the zygomatic bone we have determined a degree of modularity among parts of the midfacial skeleton suggesting that these components have the ability to vary independently and thus can evolve differentially. From these purely morphometric data, we propose that the neural crest cells that are fated to contribute to the zygomatic bone experience developmental cues that distinguish them from the maxilla and premaxilla. The spatiotemporal and molecular identity of the cues that impart zygoma progenitors with their identity remains an open question that will require alternative data sets. Anat Rec, 299:1616–1630, 2016. © 2016 The Authors The Anatomical Record Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:27870340
The pervasive use of computer simulations in the sciences brings novel epistemological issues discussed in the philosophy of science literature since about a decade. Evolutionary biology strongly relies on such simulations, and in relation to it there exists a research program (Artificial Life) that mainly studies simulations themselves. This paper addresses the specificity of computer simulations in evolutionary biology, in the context (described in Sect. 1) of a set of questions about their scope as explanations, the nature of validation processes and the relation between simulations and true experiments or mathematical models. After making distinctions, especially between a weak use where simulations test hypotheses about the world, and a strong use where they allow one to explore sets of evolutionary dynamics not necessarily extant in our world, I argue in Sect. 2 that (weak) simulations are likely to represent in virtue of the fact that they instantiate specific features of causal processes that may be isomorphic to features of some causal processes in the world, though the latter are always intertwined with a myriad of different processes and hence unlikely to be directly manipulated and studied. I therefore argue that these simulations are merely able to provide candidate explanations for real patterns. Section 3 ends up by placing strong and weak simulations in Levins' triangle, that conceives of simulations as devices trying to fulfil one or two among three incompatible epistemic values (precision, realism, genericity).
Biological contributions to cognitive development continue to be conceived predominantly along deterministic lines, with proponents of different positions arguing about the preponderance of gene-based versus experience-based influences that organize brain circuits irreversibly during prenatal or early postnatal life, and evolutionary influences…
Griffin, Matthew E; Hsieh-Wilson, Linda C
Cell-surface glycans are a diverse class of macromolecules that participate in many key biological processes, including cell-cell communication, development, and disease progression. Thus, the ability to modulate the structures of glycans on cell surfaces provides a powerful means not only to understand fundamental processes but also to direct activity and elicit desired cellular responses. Here, we describe methods to sculpt glycans on cell surfaces and highlight recent successes in which artificially engineered glycans have been employed to control biological outcomes such as the immune response and stem cell fate.
Griffin, Matthew E.; Hsieh-Wilson, Linda C.
Cell-surface glycans are a diverse class of macromolecules that participate in many key biological processes, including cell-cell communication, development, and disease progression. Thus, the ability to modulate the structures of glycans on cell surfaces provides a powerful means not only to understand fundamental processes but also to direct activity and elicit desired cellular responses. Here, we describe methods to sculpt glycans on cell surfaces and highlight recent successes in which artificially engineered glycans have been employed to control biological outcomes such as the immune response and stem cell fate. PMID:26933739
Federico, Sara; Brennan, Rachel; Dyer, Michael A
For many years, there were relatively few research efforts that bridged the fields of developmental biology and cancer genetics. However, in the past decade, we have witnessed a dramatic shift and now these two fields are intertwined. Part of the impetus for this transition came from the discovery that regulatory pathways that were previously thought to be uniquely important for developmental processes were also perturbed in cancer. In addition, the conceptual framework for understanding how cells self-renew or undergo unidirectional changes in competence during development has proven to be very useful in cancer biology as researchers explore tumor initiation and progression. Finally, a deeper understanding of the process of terminal differentiation and how that relates to cellular plasticity may have important implications for both cancer biology and developmental biology. Here we highlight some of the important connections between developmental neurobiology and cancer biology in retinoblastoma. By bridging these fields, important advances have been made in modeling retinoblastoma in mice, elucidating the cell-of-origin for retinoblastoma and identifying novel therapeutic approaches.
Watts, P C; Thompson, D J
Many species, particularly insects, pass through a series of distinct phases during their life history, with the developmental timing directed towards appropriate resources. Any factor that creates variation in developmental timing may partition a population into discrete populations—or ‘cohorts'. Where there is continued failure to recruit outside the natal cohort then alternate cohorts will have their own internal dynamics, eventually leading to independent demographic and evolutionary trajectories. By contrast, continued variation in development rates within a cohort–cohort splitting—may homogenise otherwise independent demographic units. Using a panel of 14 microsatellite loci, we quantify the genetic signature of apparent demographic isolation between coexisting, but alternate, semivoltine cohorts of the damselfly Coenagrion mercuriale at locations that span its distribution in the UK. We find consistently low levels of genetic divergence between sympatric cohorts of C. mercuriale, indicative of developmental plasticity during the larval stage (unregulated development) whereby some individuals complete their development outside the predominant 2-year (semivoltine) period. Thus, individuals that alter their developmental rate successfully recruit to a different cohort. Despite maintaining contrasting population sizes, gene flow between alternate cohorts broadly is sufficient to place them on a similar evolutionary trajectory and also buffers against loss of genetic diversity. Such flexible larval development permits a response to local conditions and may facilitate response to environmental change. PMID:21792228
Bacon, Christine D; Feltus, F Alex; Paterson, Andrew H; Bailey, C Donovan
In this study, 96 nuclear 'conserved intron-scanning primers' were screened across subfamilies the Arecaceae (palms) for potential use in research focused on palm evolutionary biology. Primers were evaluated based on their ability to amplify single polymerase chain reaction products in Arecaceae, the clarity of sequencing reads, and the interspecific variability observed. Ultimately, the results suggest that: (i) seven of the loci are likely to be suitable when comparing non-Arecaceae outgroups and Arecaceae ingroups; (ii) seven loci may be of use when comparing subfamilies of Arecaceae; and (iii) four of the loci may be of use when comparing closely related genera.
Shimkets, L J
Myxobacteria are soil bacteria whose unusually social behavior distinguishes them from other groups of procaryotes. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of their social behavior occurs during development, when tens of thousands of cells aggregate and form a colorful fruiting body. Inside the fruiting body the vegetative cells convert into dormant, resistant myxospores. However, myxobacterial social behavior is not restricted to the developmental cycle, and three other social behaviors have been described. Vegetative cells have a multigene social motility system in which cell-cell contact is essential for gliding in multicellular swarms. Cell growth on protein is cooperative in that the growth rate increases with the cell density. Rippling is a periodic behavior in which the cells align themselves in ridges and move in waves. These social behaviors indicate that myxobacterial colonies are not merely collections of individual cells but are societies in which cell behavior is synchronized by cell-cell interactions. The molecular basis of these social behaviors is becoming clear through the use of a combination of behavioral, biochemical, and genetic experimental approaches. Images PMID:1708086
Weber, Michael; Huisken, Jan
Within only a few short years, light sheet microscopy has contributed substantially to the emerging field of real-time developmental biology. Low photo-toxicity and high-speed multiview acquisition have made selective plane illumination microscopy (SPIM) a popular choice for studies of organ morphogenesis and function in zebrafish, Drosophila, and other model organisms. A multitude of different light sheet microscopes have emerged for the noninvasive imaging of specimens ranging from single molecules to cells, tissues, and entire embryos. In particular, developmental biology can benefit from the ability to watch developmental events occur in real time in an entire embryo, thereby advancing our understanding on how cells form tissues and organs. However, it presents a new challenge to our existing data and image processing tools. This review gives an overview of where we stand as light sheet microscopy branches out, explores new areas, and becomes more specialized.
A symposium entitled ``The Extracellular Matrix of Plants: Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology was held in Tamarron, Colorado, March 15--21, 1996. The following topics were explored in addresses by 43 speakers: structure and biochemistry of cell walls; biochemistry, molecular biology and biosynthesis of lignin; secretory pathway and synthesis of glycoproteins; biosynthesis of matrix polysaccharides, callose and cellulose; role of the extracellular matrix in plant growth and development; plant cell walls in symbiosis and pathogenesis.
The mission of the American Society of Naturalists is "to advance and diffuse knowledge of organic evolution and other broad biological principles so as to enhance the conceptual unification of the biological sciences." In this article, I argue that the area of biology least integrated with knowledge of organic evolution is the field of ecosystem ecology, as evidenced by a semiquantitative literature survey of use of terms in the scientific literature. I present an overview of recent theoretical developments and empirical findings in the emerging field of biological stoichiometry (the study of the balance of energy and multiple chemical elements in living systems). These developments hold some promise as a means to conceptually integrate ecosystem ecology, with its emphasis on flows and pools of energy and chemical elements, with evolutionary biology, with its emphasis on genetic fitness and the biochemical products of the genome. For example, recent evidence indicates that organismal C : P and N : P ratios have a major impact on biologically mediated flows of energy and phosphorus; in turn, variations among taxa in these ratios are connected to evolved differences in organismal growth rate because of the connection between growth rate and the need for increased allocation to P-rich ribosomal RNA. In this way, evolutionary change in growth-related traits, by altering organismal P requirements, has direct biogeochemical implications, while ecosystem conditions can constrain evolutionary acceleration of growth rates by imposing a direct P limitation on production of the needed biochemical machinery of growth. Thus, stoichiometric theory provides a broad biological principle that can interconvert the currencies and concerns of ecosystem ecology and evolutionary biology, facilitating integration of diverse fields of study and contributing to conceptual unification of the biological sciences.
Ellis, Linda K.
Introduces a laboratory activity designed for an undergraduate developmental biology course. Uses Play-Doh (plastic modeling clay) to build a multicellular embryo in order to provide a 3-D demonstration of cleavage. Includes notes for the instructor and student directions. (YDS)
Melton, Douglas A
Understanding the genes and signaling pathways that determine the differentiation and fate of a cell is a central goal of developmental biology. Using that information to gain mastery over the fates of cells presents new approaches to cell transplantation and drug discovery for human diseases including diabetes.
Nesse, Randolph M; Bergstrom, Carl T; Ellison, Peter T; Flier, Jeffrey S; Gluckman, Peter; Govindaraju, Diddahally R; Niethammer, Dietrich; Omenn, Gilbert S; Perlman, Robert L; Schwartz, Mark D; Thomas, Mark G; Stearns, Stephen C; Valle, David
New applications of evolutionary biology in medicine are being discovered at an accelerating rate, but few physicians have sufficient educational background to use them fully. This article summarizes suggestions from several groups that have considered how evolutionary biology can be useful in medicine, what physicians should learn about it, and when and how they should learn it. Our general conclusion is that evolutionary biology is a crucial basic science for medicine. In addition to looking at established evolutionary methods and topics, such as population genetics and pathogen evolution, we highlight questions about why natural selection leaves bodies vulnerable to disease. Knowledge about evolution provides physicians with an integrative framework that links otherwise disparate bits of knowledge. It replaces the prevalent view of bodies as machines with a biological view of bodies shaped by evolutionary processes. Like other basic sciences, evolutionary biology needs to be taught both before and during medical school. Most introductory biology courses are insufficient to establish competency in evolutionary biology. Premedical students need evolution courses, possibly ones that emphasize medically relevant aspects. In medical school, evolutionary biology should be taught as one of the basic medical sciences. This will require a course that reviews basic principles and specific medical applications, followed by an integrated presentation of evolutionary aspects that apply to each disease and organ system. Evolutionary biology is not just another topic vying for inclusion in the curriculum; it is an essential foundation for a biological understanding of health and disease.
Karmon, Amit; Pilpel, Yitzhak
Correlation does not imply causation. If two variables, say A and B, are correlated, it could be because A causes B, or that B causes A, or because a third factor affects them both. We suggest that in many cases in biology, the causal link might be bi-directional: A causes B through a fast-acting physiological process, while B causes A through a slowly accumulating evolutionary process. Furthermore, many trained biologists tend to consistently focus at first on the fast-acting direction, and overlook the slower process in the opposite direction. We analyse several examples from modern biology that demonstrate this bias (codon usage optimality and gene expression, gene duplication and genetic dispensability, stem cell division and cancer risk, and the microbiome and host metabolism) and also discuss an example from linguistics. These examples demonstrate mutual effects between the fast physiological processes and the slow evolutionary ones. We believe that building awareness of inference biases among biologists who tend to prefer one causal direction over another could improve scientific reasoning. PMID:27113916
Karmon, Amit; Pilpel, Yitzhak
Correlation does not imply causation. If two variables, say A and B, are correlated, it could be because A causes B, or that B causes A, or because a third factor affects them both. We suggest that in many cases in biology, the causal link might be bi-directional: A causes B through a fast-acting physiological process, while B causes A through a slowly accumulating evolutionary process. Furthermore, many trained biologists tend to consistently focus at first on the fast-acting direction, and overlook the slower process in the opposite direction. We analyse several examples from modern biology that demonstrate this bias (codon usage optimality and gene expression, gene duplication and genetic dispensability, stem cell division and cancer risk, and the microbiome and host metabolism) and also discuss an example from linguistics. These examples demonstrate mutual effects between the fast physiological processes and the slow evolutionary ones. We believe that building awareness of inference biases among biologists who tend to prefer one causal direction over another could improve scientific reasoning.
Schroeder, J; Dugdale, H L; Radersma, R; Hinsch, M; Buehler, D M; Saul, J; Porter, L; Liker, A; De Cauwer, I; Johnson, P J; Santure, A W; Griffin, A S; Bolund, E; Ross, L; Webb, T J; Feulner, P G D; Winney, I; Szulkin, M; Komdeur, J; Versteegh, M A; Hemelrijk, C K; Svensson, E I; Edwards, H; Karlsson, M; West, S A; Barrett, E L B; Richardson, D S; van den Brink, V; Wimpenny, J H; Ellwood, S A; Rees, M; Matson, K D; Charmantier, A; Dos Remedios, N; Schneider, N A; Teplitsky, C; Laurance, W F; Butlin, R K; Horrocks, N P C
Lower visibility of female scientists, compared to male scientists, is a potential reason for the under-representation of women among senior academic ranks. Visibility in the scientific community stems partly from presenting research as an invited speaker at organized meetings. We analysed the sex ratio of presenters at the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB) Congress 2011, where all abstract submissions were accepted for presentation. Women were under-represented among invited speakers at symposia (15% women) compared to all presenters (46%), regular oral presenters (41%) and plenary speakers (25%). At the ESEB congresses in 2001-2011, 9-23% of invited speakers were women. This under-representation of women is partly attributable to a larger proportion of women, than men, declining invitations: in 2011, 50% of women declined an invitation to speak compared to 26% of men. We expect invited speakers to be scientists from top ranked institutions or authors of recent papers in high-impact journals. Considering all invited speakers (including declined invitations), 23% were women. This was lower than the baseline sex ratios of early-mid career stage scientists, but was similar to senior scientists and authors that have published in high-impact journals. High-quality science by women therefore has low exposure at international meetings, which will constrain Evolutionary Biology from reaching its full potential. We wish to highlight the wider implications of turning down invitations to speak, and encourage conference organizers to implement steps to increase acceptance rates of invited talks.
Bejder, Lars; Hall, Brian K
We address the developmental and evolutionary mechanisms underlying fore- and hindlimb development and progressive hindlimb reduction and skeletal loss in whales and evaluate whether the genetic, developmental, and evolutionary mechanisms thought to be responsible for limb loss in snakes "explain" loss of the hindlimbs in whales. Limb loss and concurrent morphological and physiological changes associated with the transition from land to water are discussed within the context of the current whale phylogeny. Emphasis is placed on fore- and hindlimb development, how the forelimbs transformed into flippers, and how the hindlimbs regressed, leaving either no elements or vestigial skeletal elements. Hindlimbs likely began to regress only after the ancestors of whales entered the aquatic environment: Hindlimb function was co-opted by the undulatory vertical axial locomotion made possible by the newly evolved caudal flukes. Loss of the hindlimbs was associated with elongation of the body during the transition from land to water. Limblessness in most snakes is also associated with adoption of a new (burrowing) lifestyle and was driven by developmental changes associated with elongation of the body. Parallels between adaptation to burrowing or to the aquatic environment reflect structural and functional changes associated with the switch to axial locomotion. Because they are more fully studied and to determine whether hindlimb loss in lineages that are not closely related could result from similar genetically controlled developmental pathways, we discuss developmental (cellular and genetic) processes that may have driven limb loss in snakes and leg-less lizards and compare these processes to the loss of hindlimbs in whales. In neither group does ontogenetic or phylogenetic limb reduction result from failure to initiate limb development. In both groups limb loss results from arrested development at the limb bud stage, as a result of inability to maintain necessary inductive
Moore, David S
To help introduce the idea of homology into developmental psychology, this article presents some of the concepts, distinctions, and guidelines biologists and philosophers of biology have devised to study homology. Some unresolved issues related to this idea are considered as well. Because homology reflects continuity across time, developmental scientists should find this concept to be useful in the study of psychological/behavioral development, just as biologists have found it essential in the study of the evolution and development of morphological and other characteristics.
Kicheva, Anna; Rivron, Nicolas C
In November 2016, developmental biologists, synthetic biologists and engineers gathered in Paris for a meeting called 'Engineering the embryo'. The participants shared an interest in exploring how synthetic systems can reveal new principles of embryonic development, and how the in vitro manipulation and modeling of development using stem cells can be used to integrate ideas and expertise from physics, developmental biology and tissue engineering. As we review here, the conference pinpointed some of the challenges arising at the intersection of these fields, along with great enthusiasm for finding new approaches and collaborations.
Lindsay, David S; Houk, Alice E; Mitchell, Sheila M; Dubey, J P
Tissue cyst stages are an intriguing aspect of the developmental cycle and transmission of species of Sarcocystidae. Tissue-cyst stages of Toxoplasma, Hammondia, Neospora, Besnoitia, and Sarcocystis contain many infectious stages (bradyzoites). The tissue cyst stage of Cystoisospora (syn. Isospora) possesses only 1 infectious stage (zoite), and is therefore referred to as a monozoic tissue cyst (MZTC). No tissue cyst stages are presently known for members of Nephroisospora. The present report examines the developmental biology of MZTC stages of Cystoisospora Frenkel, 1977 . These parasites cause intestinal coccidiosis in cats, dogs, pigs, and humans. The MZTC stages of C. belli are believed to be associated with reoccurrence of clinical disease in humans.
Keyte, Anna L.; Alonzo-Johnsen, Martha; Hutson, Mary R.
The cardiac neural crest cells (CNCCs) have played an important role in the evolution and development of the vertebrate cardiovascular system: from reinforcement of the developing aortic arch arteries early in vertebrate evolution, to later orchestration of aortic arch artery remodeling into the great arteries of the heart, and finally outflow tract septation in amniotes. A critical element necessary for the evolutionary advent of outflow tract septation was the co-evolution of the cardiac neural crest cells with the second heart field. This review highlights the major transitions in vertebrate circulatory evolution, explores the evolutionary developmental origins of the CNCCs from the third stream cranial neural crest, and explores candidate signaling pathways in CNCC and outflow tract evolution drawn from our knowledge of DiGeorge Syndrome. PMID:25227322
Mahajan, P; Leavey, P J; Galindo, R L
Childhood solid tumors often arise from embryonal-like cells, which are distinct from the epithelial cancers observed in adults, and etiologically can be considered as 'developmental patterning gone awry'. Paired-box (PAX) genes encode a family of evolutionarily conserved transcription factors that are important regulators of cell lineage specification, migration and tissue patterning. PAX loss-of-function mutations are well known to cause potent developmental phenotypes in animal models and underlie genetic disease in humans, whereas dysregulation and/or genetic modification of PAX genes have been shown to function as critical triggers for human tumorigenesis. Consequently, exploring PAX-related pathobiology generates insights into both normal developmental biology and key molecular mechanisms that underlie pediatric cancer, which are the topics of this review.
Rasheed, Nadia; Amin, Shamsudin H. M.
Grounded language acquisition is an important issue, particularly to facilitate human-robot interactions in an intelligent and effective way. The evolutionary and developmental language acquisition are two innovative and important methodologies for the grounding of language in cognitive agents or robots, the aim of which is to address current limitations in robot design. This paper concentrates on these two main modelling methods with the grounding principle for the acquisition of linguistic ability in cognitive agents or robots. This review not only presents a survey of the methodologies and relevant computational cognitive agents or robotic models, but also highlights the advantages and progress of these approaches for the language grounding issue. PMID:27069470
Lucek, Kay; Sivasundar, Arjun; Seehausen, Ole
Rapid phenotypic diversification during biological invasions can either arise by adaptation to alternative environments or by adaptive phenotypic plasticity. Where experimental evidence for adaptive plasticity is common, support for evolutionary diversification is rare. Here, we performed a controlled laboratory experiment using full-sib crosses between ecologically divergent threespine stickleback populations to test for a genetic basis of adaptation. Our populations are from two very different habitats, lake and stream, of a recently invaded range in Switzerland and differ in ecologically relevant morphological traits. We found that in a lake-like food treatment lake fish grow faster than stream fish, resembling the difference among wild type individuals. In contrast, in a stream-like food treatment individuals from both populations grow similarly. Our experimental data suggest that genetically determined diversification has occurred within less than 140 years after the arrival of stickleback in our studied region. PMID:23152900
White, Roderick E.; Thornhill, Stewart; Hampson, Elizabeth
Biological evolutionary processes select for heritable behaviors providing a survival and reproductive advantage. Accordingly, how we behave is, at least in part, affected by the evolutionary history of our species. This research uses evolutionary psychology as the theoretical perspective for exploring the relationship between a heritable…
In a recent report in Current Biology, Xing and colleagues  present a small fragment of a vertebrate tail preserved in amber that bears integumentary appendages (DIP-V-15103, Dexu Institute of Paleontology, Chaozhou, China; Figure 1). Following several analyses using cutting-edge technology the authors conclude that: the tail belongs to a non-avian theropod dinosaur (non-avialan according to the authors, but non-avian used synonymously here); the dinosaur most likely was a member of the Coelurosauria, possibly even Maniraptora; and, the integumentary appendages are feathers that support a barbule-first evolutionary pattern for feathers. DIP-V-15103 is indeed an intriguing specimen with potential implications for contributing to understanding the evolution of feathers among dinosaurs, which remains a current and undoubtedly controversial topic [2,3]. However, I would like to raise several concerns about the available evidence for the phylogenetic hypothesis concerning the placement of DIP-V-15103 as concluded by Xing and colleagues , and furthermore discuss the developmental trajectories predicted by them in light of their far-reaching evolutionary implications.
Yalcin, Dicle; Hakguder, Zeynep M; Otu, Hasan H
Individual cells within the same population show various degrees of heterogeneity, which may be better handled with single-cell analysis to address biological and clinical questions. Single-cell analysis is especially important in developmental biology as subtle spatial and temporal differences in cells have significant associations with cell fate decisions during differentiation and with the description of a particular state of a cell exhibiting an aberrant phenotype. Biotechnological advances, especially in the area of microfluidics, have led to a robust, massively parallel and multi-dimensional capturing, sorting, and lysis of single-cells and amplification of related macromolecules, which have enabled the use of imaging and omics techniques on single cells. There have been improvements in computational single-cell image analysis in developmental biology regarding feature extraction, segmentation, image enhancement and machine learning, handling limitations of optical resolution to gain new perspectives from the raw microscopy images. Omics approaches, such as transcriptomics, genomics and epigenomics, targeting gene and small RNA expression, single nucleotide and structural variations and methylation and histone modifications, rely heavily on high-throughput sequencing technologies. Although there are well-established bioinformatics methods for analysis of sequence data, there are limited bioinformatics approaches which address experimental design, sample size considerations, amplification bias, normalization, differential expression, coverage, clustering and classification issues, specifically applied at the single-cell level. In this review, we summarize biological and technological advancements, discuss challenges faced in the aforementioned data acquisition and analysis issues and present future prospects for application of single-cell analyses to developmental biology.
Blanco, M J; Sanchiz, B
ABSTRACT The presence of free ribs is presumed to be a primitive morphological character observed only in a few families of Recent anurans, whereas the absence of ribs has been considered to be a derived condition that is widespread within this order. A comparative study of rib development based on representatives of several anuran lineages (Alytes, Bombina, Bufo, Discoglossus, Hyla, Pelobates, Pelodytes, Rana, and Xenopus) reveals a previously undetected diversity of developmental features in the formation and interaction between neural arches and ribs. The absence of free ribs at premetamorphic or later stages is verified in some groups, but we present for the first time evidence of the existence of larval rib rudiments in others, both in the anterior (Rana, Hyla) and posterior (Bufo, Discoglossus, Pelobates) presacral regions. Heterochrony seems to have played a major role in the processes underlying rib reduction. The intracolumnar differences between anterior (V(2)-V(4)) and posterior (V(5)-V(8)) regions are based on perturbations in the timing of early differentiation. Furthermore, a clear shift in the relative timing of ossification among evolutionary lineages was detected. In this respect Xenopus has a highly derived condition. The use of the morphological character of "rib loss" in phylogenetic analyses must be reconsidered due to the different convergent developmental paths described here. The phylogenetic analysis of a "sequence units" matrix of rib development is compared with current anuran phylogenies. Some evolutionary information appears to be clearly present in the ontogenetic data of this "missing morphology," but its value for evolutionary inferences is rather limited.
Chen, Bor-Sen; Tsai, Kun-Wei; Li, Cheng-Wei
Molecular biologists have long recognized carcinogenesis as an evolutionary process that involves natural selection. Cancer is driven by the somatic evolution of cell lineages. In this study, the evolution of somatic cancer cell lineages during carcinogenesis was modeled as an equilibrium point (ie, phenotype of attractor) shifting, the process of a nonlinear stochastic evolutionary biological network. This process is subject to intrinsic random fluctuations because of somatic genetic and epigenetic variations, as well as extrinsic disturbances because of carcinogens and stressors. In order to maintain the normal function (ie, phenotype) of an evolutionary biological network subjected to random intrinsic fluctuations and extrinsic disturbances, a network robustness scheme that incorporates natural selection needs to be developed. This can be accomplished by selecting certain genetic and epigenetic variations to modify the network structure to attenuate intrinsic fluctuations efficiently and to resist extrinsic disturbances in order to maintain the phenotype of the evolutionary biological network at an equilibrium point (attractor). However, during carcinogenesis, the remaining (or neutral) genetic and epigenetic variations accumulate, and the extrinsic disturbances become too large to maintain the normal phenotype at the desired equilibrium point for the nonlinear evolutionary biological network. Thus, the network is shifted to a cancer phenotype at a new equilibrium point that begins a new evolutionary process. In this study, the natural selection scheme of an evolutionary biological network of carcinogenesis was derived from a robust negative feedback scheme based on the nonlinear stochastic Nash game strategy. The evolvability and phenotypic robustness criteria of the evolutionary cancer network were also estimated by solving a Hamilton–Jacobi inequality – constrained optimization problem. The simulation revealed that the phenotypic shift of the lung cancer
Martin, Meredith J; Davies, Patrick T; MacNeill, Leigha A
Navigating the ubiquitous conflict, competition, and complex group dynamics of the peer group is a pivotal developmental task of childhood. Difficulty negotiating these challenges represents a substantial source of risk for psychopathology. Evolutionary developmental psychology offers a unique perspective with the potential to reorganize the way we think about the role of peer relationships in shaping how children cope with the everyday challenges of establishing a social niche. To address this gap, we utilize the ethological reformulation of the emotional security theory as a guide to developing an evolutionary framework for advancing an understanding of the defense strategies children use to manage antagonistic peer relationships and protect themselves from interpersonal threat (Davies and Sturge-Apple, 2007). In this way, we hope to illustrate the value of an evolutionary developmental lens in generating unique theoretical insight and novel research directions into the role of peer relationships in the development of psychopathology.
Jackson, Fatimah Linda Collier
Examines existing data on biological diversity among Americans of African descent within the contexts of their evolutionary backgrounds and political and economic realities. Explores the origins of the diversity, and provides an evolutionary and political economy synthesis for evaluating the biological distinctions apparent among African…
Mulley, John F
The huge growth in knowledge in many areas of biological sciences over the past few decades has created a major dilemma for those of us in higher education, for not only must we adequately and efficiently convey these new facts and concepts to our students, we must also ensure that they understand and appreciate them. The field of developmental biology has witnessed such a massive growth in knowledge since the mid-1980s, driven mainly by advances in cell and molecular biology, and the development of new imaging techniques and tools. Ensuring that students fully appreciate the four-dimensional nature of embryonic development and morphogenesis is a particular issue, and one that I argue can only be properly learned via direct exposure to embryos via laboratory practicals.
Zhu, Zengrong; Huangfu, Danwei
Developmental biology has long benefited from studies of classic model organisms. Recently, human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), including human embryonic stem cells and human induced pluripotent stem cells, have emerged as a new model system that offers unique advantages for developmental studies. Here, we discuss how studies of hPSCs can complement classic approaches using model organisms, and how hPSCs can be used to recapitulate aspects of human embryonic development 'in a dish'. We also summarize some of the recently developed genetic tools that greatly facilitate the interrogation of gene function during hPSC differentiation. With the development of high-throughput screening technologies, hPSCs have the potential to revolutionize gene discovery in mammalian development.
Hendry, Andrew P; Lohmann, Lúcia G; Conti, Elena; Cracraft, Joel; Crandall, Keith A; Faith, Daniel P; Häuser, Christoph; Joly, Carlos A; Kogure, Kazuhiro; Larigauderie, Anne; Magallón, Susana; Moritz, Craig; Tillier, Simon; Zardoya, Rafael; Prieur-Richard, Anne-Hélène; Walther, Bruno A; Yahara, Tetsukazu; Donoghue, Michael J
Evolutionary biologists have long endeavored to document how many species exist on Earth, to understand the processes by which biodiversity waxes and wanes, to document and interpret spatial patterns of biodiversity, and to infer evolutionary relationships. Despite the great potential of this knowledge to improve biodiversity science, conservation, and policy, evolutionary biologists have generally devoted limited attention to these broader implications. Likewise, many workers in biodiversity science have underappreciated the fundamental relevance of evolutionary biology. The aim of this article is to summarize and illustrate some ways in which evolutionary biology is directly relevant. We do so in the context of four broad areas: (1) discovering and documenting biodiversity, (2) understanding the causes of diversification, (3) evaluating evolutionary responses to human disturbances, and (4) implications for ecological communities, ecosystems, and humans. We also introduce bioGENESIS, a new project within DIVERSITAS launched to explore the potential practical contributions of evolutionary biology. In addition to fostering the integration of evolutionary thinking into biodiversity science, bioGENESIS provides practical recommendations to policy makers for incorporating evolutionary perspectives into biodiversity agendas and conservation. We solicit your involvement in developing innovative ways of using evolutionary biology to better comprehend and stem the loss of biodiversity.
Vecchi, Davide; Baravalle, Lorenzo
This paper will critically assess Popper's evolutionary philosophy. There exists a rich literature on the topic with which we have many reservations. We believe that Popper's evolutionary philosophy should be assessed in light of the intriguing theoretical insights offered, during the last 10 years or so, by the philosophy of biology, evolutionary biology and molecular biology. We will argue that, when analysed in this manner, Popper's ideas concerning the nature of selection, Lamarckism and the theoretical limits of neo-Darwinism can be appreciated in their full biological and philosophical value.
Boyd, Eric S.; Peters, John W.
Nitrogenase, which catalyzes the ATP-dependent reduction of dinitrogen (N2) to ammonia (NH3), accounts for roughly half of the bioavailable nitrogen supporting extant life. The fundamental requirement for fixed forms of nitrogen for life on Earth, both at present and in the past, has led to broad and significant interest in the origin and evolution of biological N2 fixation. One key question is whether the limited availability of fixed nitrogen was a factor in life's origin or whether there were ample sources of fixed nitrogen produced by abiotic processes or delivered through the weathering of bolide impact materials to support this early life. If the latter, the key questions become what were the characteristics of the environment that precipitated the evolution of this oxygen sensitive process, when did this occur, and how was its subsequent evolutionary history impacted by the advent of oxygenic photosynthesis and the rise of oxygen in the Earth's biosphere. Since the availability of fixed sources of nitrogen capable of supporting early life is difficult to glean from the geologic record, there are limited means to get direct insights into these questions. Indirect insights, however, can be gained through phylogenetic studies of nitrogenase structural gene products and additional gene products involved in the biosynthesis of the complex metal-containing prosthetic groups associated with this enzyme complex. Insights gained from such studies, as reviewed herein, challenge traditional models for the evolution of biological nitrogen fixation and provide the basis for the development of new conceptual models that explain the stepwise evolution of this highly complex life sustaining process. PMID:23935594
Grazer, Vera M.; Martin, Oliver Y.
It is now generally acknowledged that climate change has wide-ranging biological consequences, potentially leading to impacts on biodiversity. Environmental factors can have diverse and often strong effects on reproduction, with obvious ramifications for population fitness. Nevertheless, reproductive traits are often neglected in conservation considerations. Focusing on animals, recent progress in sexual selection and sexual conflict research suggests that reproductive costs may pose an underestimated hurdle during rapid climate change, potentially lowering adaptive potential and increasing extinction risk of certain populations. Nevertheless, regime shifts may have both negative and positive effects on reproduction, so it is important to acquire detailed experimental data. We hence present an overview of the literature reporting short-term reproductive consequences of exposure to different environmental factors. From the enormous diversity of findings, we conclude that climate change research could benefit greatly from more coordinated efforts incorporating evolutionary approaches in order to obtain cross-comparable data on how individual and population reproductive fitness respond in the long term. Therefore, we propose ideas and methods concerning future efforts dealing with reproductive consequences of climate change, in particular by highlighting the advantages of multi-generational experimental evolution experiments. PMID:24832232
Leftwich, Philip T; Bolton, Michael; Chapman, Tracey
The requirement to develop new techniques for insect control that minimize negative environmental impacts has never been more pressing. Here we discuss population suppression and population replacement technologies. These include sterile insect technique, genetic elimination methods such as the release of insects carrying a dominant lethal (RIDL), and gene driving mechanisms offered by intracellular bacteria and homing endonucleases. We also review the potential of newer or underutilized methods such as reproductive interference, CRISPR technology, RNA interference (RNAi), and genetic underdominance. We focus on understanding principles and potential effectiveness from the perspective of evolutionary biology. This offers useful insights into mechanisms through which potential problems may be minimized, in much the same way that an understanding of how resistance evolves is key to slowing the spread of antibiotic and insecticide resistance. We conclude that there is much to gain from applying principles from the study of resistance in these other scenarios - specifically, the adoption of combinatorial approaches to minimize the spread of resistance evolution. We conclude by discussing the focused use of GM for insect pest control in the context of modern conservation planning under land-sparing scenarios.
Spencer, Thomas E; Dunlap, Kathrin A; Filant, Justyna
The uterus is an essential organ for reproduction in mammals that derives from the Müllerian duct. Despite the importance of the uterus for the fertility and health of women and their offspring, relatively little is known about the hormonal, cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate development of the Müllerian duct and uterus. This review aims to summarize the hormonal, cellular and molecular mechanisms and pathways governing development of the Müllerian duct and uterus as well as highlight developmental programming effects of endocrine disruptor compounds. Organogenesis, morphogenesis, and functional differentiation of the uterus are complex, multifactorial processes. Disruption of uterine development in the fetus and neonate by genetic defects and exposure to endocrine disruptor compounds can cause infertility and cancer in the adult and their offspring via developmental programming. Clear conservation of some factors and pathways are observed between species; therefore, comparative biology is useful to identify candidate genes and pathways underlying congenital abnormalities in humans.
Li, Yang; Calvo, Sarah E.; Gutman, Roee
Summary Availability of diverse genomes makes it possible to predict gene function based on shared evolutionary history. This approach can be challenging, however, for pathways whose components do not exhibit a shared history, but rather, consist of distinct “evolutionary modules.” We introduce a computational algorithm, CLIME (clustering by inferred models of evolution), which inputs a eukaryotic species tree, homology matrix, and pathway (gene set) of interest. CLIME partitions the gene set into disjoint evolutionary modules, simultaneously learning the number of modules and a tree-based evolutionary history that defines each module. CLIME then expands each module by scanning the genome for new components that likely arose under the inferred evolutionary model. Application of CLIME to ∼1000 annotated human pathways, organelles and proteomes of yeast, red algae, and malaria, reveals unanticipated evolutionary modularity and novel, co-evolving components. CLIME is freely available and should become increasingly powerful with the growing wealth of eukaryotic genomes. PMID:24995987
Many unexpected discoveries in developmental biology have depended on advancement of imaging technologies to visualize developmental processes as they unfold across multiple spatial and temporal scales. This essay surveys the recent advances in imaging, highlighting emerging capabilities with an eye toward those poised to have the greatest impact on developmental biology.
Papp, Balázs; Szappanos, Balázs; Notebaart, Richard A
One of the major aims of the nascent field of evolutionary systems biology is to test evolutionary hypotheses that are not only realistic from a population genetic point of view but also detailed in terms of molecular biology mechanisms. By providing a mapping between genotype and phenotype for hundreds of genes, genome-scale systems biology models of metabolic networks have already provided valuable insights into the evolution of metabolic gene contents and phenotypes of yeast and other microbial species. Here we review the recent use of these computational models to predict the fitness effect of mutations, genetic interactions, evolutionary outcomes, and to decipher the mechanisms of mutational robustness. While these studies have demonstrated that even simplified models of biochemical reaction networks can be highly informative for evolutionary analyses, they have also revealed the weakness of this modeling framework to quantitatively predict mutational effects, a challenge that needs to be addressed for future progress in evolutionary systems biology.
Bhattacharya, Soumyaroop; Mariani, Thomas J
A greater understanding of the regulatory processes contributing to lung development could be helpful to identify strategies to ameliorate morbidity and mortality in premature infants and to identify individuals at risk for congenital and/or chronic lung diseases. Over the past decade, genomics technologies have enabled the production of rich gene expression databases providing information for all genes across developmental time or in diseased tissue. These data sets facilitate systems biology approaches for identifying underlying biological modules and programs contributing to the complex processes of normal development and those that may be associated with disease states. The next decade will undoubtedly see rapid and significant advances in redefining both lung development and disease at the systems level.
Campos-Sanchez, Elena; Toboso-Navasa, Amparo; Romero-Camarero, Isabel; Barajas-Diego, Marcos; Sanchez-García, Isidro; Cobaleda, César
The latest scientific findings in the field of cancer research are redefining our understanding of the molecular and cellular basis of the disease, moving the emphasis toward the study of the mechanisms underlying the alteration of the normal processes of cellular differentiation. The concepts best exemplifying this new vision are those of cancer stem cells and tumoral reprogramming. The study of the biology of acute lymphoblastic leukemias (ALLs) has provided seminal experimental evidence supporting these new points of view. Furthermore, in the case of B cells, it has been shown that all the stages of their normal development show a tremendous degree of plasticity, allowing them to be reprogrammed to other cellular types, either normal or leukemic. Here we revise the most recent discoveries in the fields of B-cell developmental plasticity and B-ALL research and discuss their interrelationships and their implications for our understanding of the biology of the disease.
Entringer, Sonja; Wadhwa, Pathik D
Epidemiological, clinical, physiological, cellular and molecular evidence suggests the origins of obesity and metabolic dysfunction can be traced back to intrauterine life and supports an important role for maternal nutrition prior to and during gestation in fetal programming. The elucidation of underlying mechanisms is an area of interest and intense investigation. We propose that in addition to maternal nutrition-related processes, it may be important to concurrently consider the potential role of intrauterine stress and stress biology. We frame our arguments in the larger context of an evolutionary-developmental perspective that supports roles for both nutrition and stress as key environmental conditions driving natural selection and developmental plasticity. We suggest that intrauterine stress exposure may interact with the nutritional milieu, and that stress biology may represent an underlying mechanism mediating the effects of diverse intrauterine perturbations, including but not limited to maternal nutritional insults (undernutrition and overnutrition), on brain and peripheral targets of programming of body composition, energy balance homeostasis and metabolic function. We discuss putative maternal-placental-fetal endocrine and immune/inflammatory candidate processes that may underlie the long-term effects of intrauterine stress.
Entringer, Sonja; Wadhwa, Pathik D.
Epidemiological, clinical, physiological, cellular and molecular evidence suggests the origins of obesity and metabolic dysfunction can be traced back to intrauterine life and supports an important role for maternal nutrition prior to and during gestation in fetal programming. The elucidation of underlying mechanisms is an area of interest and intense investigation. We propose that in addition to maternal nutrition-related processes, it may be important to concurrently consider the potential role of intrauterine stress and stress biology. We frame our arguments in the larger context of an evolutionary-developmental perspective that supports roles for both nutrition and stress as key environmental conditions driving natural selection and developmental plasticity. We suggest that intrauterine stress exposure may interact with the nutritional milieu, and that stress biology may represent an underlying mechanism mediating the effects of diverse intrauterine perturbations, including but not limited to maternal nutritional insults (undernutrition and overnutrition), on brain and peripheral targets of programming of body composition, energy balance homeostasis and metabolic function. We discuss putative maternal-placental-fetal endocrine and immune/inflammatory candidate processes that may underlie the long-term effects of intrauterine stress. PMID:23887109
Cortina, Mauricio; Liotti, Giovanni
We discuss consciousness from evolutionary and developmental perspectives. The expansion of communicative abilities was a necessary step for the emergence of a new type of cooperation based on equality that probably appeared for the first time among nomadic hunter gatherers during the upper Paleolithic era. In turn, this new level of cooperation gave raise to an expanded form of consciousness. From a developmental perspective an expansion of intersubjective abilities and consciousness go together. Three basic levels of intersubjectivity are present in humans. A primary form of intersubjective communication is accompanied by a primary form of consciousness that is not easily accessible for conscious scrutiny. During the second year of human life secondary forms of intersubjectivity expand consciousness from the immediacy of one-to-one interactions, to include a shared understanding of intentions and goals with caregivers. Secondary forms of intersubjectivity give raise to the type of consciousness characterized by preverbal symbols and images--a primordial form of conceptual knowledge. A further step in intersubjective communication uses the meanings and concepts that have emerged earlier in development and transforms them into words. The leap into language allows our species to conceive past, present, and future simultaneously. The cultural transmission of knowledge and social mores depends on these abilities. This further expands the scope of consciousness and creates conditions for self reflection, a type of consciousness that is uniquely human.
Atkinson, Elizabeth G.; Rogers, Jeffrey; Cheverud, James M.
Bilateral symmetry is a fundamental property of the vertebrate central nervous system. Local deviations from symmetry provide various types of information about the development, evolution and function of elements within the CNS, especially the cerebral hemispheres. Here, we quantify the pattern and extent of asymmetry in cortical folding within the cerebrum of Papio baboons and assess the evolutionary and developmental implications of the findings. Analyses of directional asymmetry show a population-level trend in length measurements indicating that baboons are genetically predisposed to be asymmetrical, with the right side longer than the left in the anterior cerebrum while the left side is longer than the right posteriorly. We also find a corresponding bias to display a right frontal petalia (overgrowth of the anterior pole of the cerebral cortex on the right side). By quantifying fluctuating asymmetry, we assess canalization of brain features and the susceptibility of the baboon brain to developmental perturbations. We find that features are differentially canalized depending on their ontogenetic timing. We further deduce that development of the two hemispheres is to some degree independent. This independence has important implications for the evolution of cerebral hemispheres and their separate specialization. Asymmetry is a major feature of primate brains and is characteristic of both brain structure and function. PMID:26813679
Gómez-Robles, Aida; Polly, P David
As the most common and best preserved remains in the fossil record, teeth are central to our understanding of evolution. However, many evolutionary analyses based on dental traits overlook the constraints that limit dental evolution. These constraints are diverse, ranging from developmental interactions between the individual elements of a homologous series (the whole dentition) to functional constraints related to occlusion. This study evaluates morphological integration in the hominin dentition and its effect on dental evolution in an extensive sample of Plio- and Pleistocene hominin teeth using geometric morphometrics and phylogenetic comparative methods. Results reveal that premolars and molars display significant levels of covariation; that integration is stronger in the mandibular dentition than in the maxillary dentition; and that antagonist teeth, especially first molars, are strongly integrated. Results also show an association of morphological integration and evolution. Stasis is observed in elements with strong functional and/or developmental interactions, namely in first molars. Alternatively, directional evolution (and weaker integration) occurs in the elements with marginal roles in occlusion and mastication, probably in response to other direct or indirect selective pressures. This study points to the need to reevaluate hypotheses about hominin evolution based on dental characters, given the complex scenario in which teeth evolve.
Szathmáry, Eörs; Szathmáry, Zoltán; Ittzés, Péter; Orbaán, Geroő; Zachár, István; Huszár, Ferenc; Fedor, Anna; Varga, Máté; Számadó, Szabolcs
It is justified to assume that part of our genetic endowment contributes to our language skills, yet it is impossible to tell at this moment exactly how genes affect the language faculty. We complement experimental biological studies by an in silico approach in that we simulate the evolution of neuronal networks under selection for language-related skills. At the heart of this project is the Evolutionary Neurogenetic Algorithm (ENGA) that is deliberately biomimetic. The design of the system was inspired by important biological phenomena such as brain ontogenesis, neuron morphologies, and indirect genetic encoding. Neuronal networks were selected and were allowed to reproduce as a function of their performance in the given task. The selected neuronal networks in all scenarios were able to solve the communication problem they had to face. The most striking feature of the model is that it works with highly indirect genetic encoding--just as brains do.
Alvarez Pérez, Eréndira; Ruiz Gutiérrez, Rosaura
We present quantitative results for the doctoral thesis of the first-named author of this article. The objective was to recommend and test a teaching proposal for core knowledge of evolutionary biology in secondary education. The focus of the study is "Problem cores in teaching". The "Weaving evolutionary thinking" teaching…
Davidson, Lance A; Baum, Buzz
The tenth annual RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology symposium 'Quantitative Developmental Biology' held in March 2012 covered a range of topics from coat colour patterning to the mechanics of morphogenesis. The studies presented shared a common theme in which a combination of physical theory, quantitative analysis and experiment was used to understand a specific cellular process in development. This report highlights these innovative studies and the long-standing questions in developmental biology that they seek to answer.
How does evolution forge adaptive responses? Are many changes required or few? Just how complex are the transcriptional networks that control development? Diverse questions like these are being newly addressed by next-generation sequencing-based techniques. Facilitating a mechanistic understanding, these approaches reveal the direct in vivo interactions between transcription factors and their physical targets, combined with genome-scale readouts to comprehensively map adaptive gene regulatory networks (GRNs). Here I focus on pioneering work from the last 3 years that has leveraged these data to investigate diverse aspects of GRN circuitry controlling the reproductive transition in plants. These approaches have revealed surprising new functions for long-investigated key players in developmental programs and laid bare the basis for pleiotropy in many others, suggesting widespread process integration at the transcriptional level. Evolutionary questions begged by the recent deluge of GRN mapping data are being assessed anew, both by emerging work outside Arabidopsis thaliana and novel analyses within. These studies have swiftly exposed the distinctive power and adaptability of genome-wide GRN mapping and illustrate that this unique data type holds tremendous promise for plant biology.
Moore, Gregory D.
South Carolina biology Indicator 5.6 calls for students to "Summarize ways that scientists use data from a variety of sources to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory" (South Carolina Department of Education, 2006). Levinson and Sutton (2001) offered a sociocultural approach to policy that considers cultural and historical influences at all levels of the policy process. Lipsky (1980/2010) and others have identified teachers as de facto policy makers, exercising broad discretion in the execution of their work. This study looks to Ajzen's Theory of Planned Behavior as an initial framework to inform how evolutionary biology policy in South Carolina is conceptualized and understood at different levels of the policy process. The results of this study indicate that actors in the state's evolutionary biology policy process draw upon a myriad of Discourses (Gee, 1999/2005). These Discourses shape cultural dynamics and the agency of the policy actors as they navigate conflicting messages between testing mandates and evolutionary biology policy. There indeed exist gaps between how evolutionary biology policy in South Carolina is conceptualized and understood at the different levels of the policy process. Evidence from this study suggests that appropriation-level policy actors must be brought into the Discourse related to the critical analysis of evolutionary biology and academic freedom legislation must be enacted if South Carolina biology Indicator 5.6 is to realize practical significance in educational policy.
Levit, George S; Hossfeld, Uwe; Olsson, Lennart
The growth of evolutionary morphology in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was inspired by the work of Carl Gegenbaur (1826-1903) and his protégé and friend Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919). However, neither of them succeeded in creating and applying a strictly Darwinian (selectionist) methodology. This task was left to the next generation of evolutionary morphologists. In this paper we present a relatively unknown researcher, Alexej Nikolajevich Sewertzoff (1866-1936) who made important contributions towards a synthesis of Darwinism and evolutionary morphology.
Cartwright, Julyan H.E.; Piro, Oreste; Tuval, Idan
Human conception, indeed fertilization in general, takes place in a fluid, but what role does fluid dynamics have during the subsequent development of an organism? It is becoming increasingly clear that the number of genes in the genome of a typical organism is not sufficient to specify the minutiae of all features of its ontogeny. Instead, genetics often acts as a choreographer, guiding development but leaving some aspects to be controlled by physical and chemical means. Fluids are ubiquitous in biological systems, so it is not surprising that fluid dynamics should play an important role in the physical and chemical processes shaping ontogeny. However, only in a few cases have the strands been teased apart to see exactly how fluid forces operate to guide development. Here, we review instances in which the hand of fluid dynamics in developmental biology is acknowledged, both in human development and within a wider biological context, together with some in which fluid dynamics is notable but whose workings have yet to be understood, and we provide a fluid dynamicist’s perspective on possible avenues for future research. PMID:19794816
Desnitskiĭ, A G
Model systems based on two or more related species with different types of development are finding increasing use in current comparative embryology. Green algae of the genus Volvox offer an interesting opportunity to study sex pheromones, morphogenesis as well as the formation of a somatic cell line undergoing terminal differentiation, senescence, and death as well as a line of reproductive cells, which at first grow and then undergo a series of consecutive divisions that give rise to new organisms. However, almost all studies of the recent years were conducted on a single species, Volvox carteri f. nagariensis. The goal of this publication was to advertise the cosmopolitan alga V. aureus as a model species in developmental biology. Published data on V. aureus are briefly reviewed in comparison with the development of V. carteri and outlooks of further studies are specified. In particular, the expediency of collecting new V. aureus strains from nature to study their development in clonal culture is outlined.
Noisa, Parinya; Raivio, Taneli
Neural crest cells are multipotent cells, which are specified in embryonic ectoderm in the border of neural plate and epiderm during early development by interconnection of extrinsic stimuli and intrinsic factors. Neural crest cells are capable of differentiating into various somatic cell types, including melanocytes, craniofacial cartilage and bone, smooth muscle, and peripheral nervous cells, which supports their promise for cell therapy. In this work, we provide a comprehensive review of wide aspects of neural crest cells from their developmental biology to applicability in medical research. We provide a simplified model of neural crest cell development and highlight the key external stimuli and intrinsic regulators that determine the neural crest cell fate. Defects of neural crest cell development leading to several human disorders are also mentioned, with the emphasis of using human induced pluripotent stem cells to model neurocristopathic syndromes.
Qian, Li; Srivastava, Deepak
Heart disease affects millions worldwide and is a progressive condition involving loss of cardiomyocytes. The human heart has limited endogenous regenerative capacity and is thus an important target for novel regenerative medicine approaches. While cell-based regenerative therapies hold promise, cellular reprogramming of endogenous cardiac fibroblasts, which represent more than half of the cells in the mammalian heart, may be an attractive alternative strategy for regenerating cardiac muscle. Recent advances leveraging years of developmental biology point to the feasibility of generating de novo cardiomyocyte-like cells from terminally differentiated non-myocytes in the heart in situ after ischemic damage. Here, we review the progress in cardiac reprogramming methods and consider the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead in refining this technology for regenerative medicine. PMID:24030021
Menshutkin, V V; Kazanskiĭ, A B; Levchenko, V F
The history of rise and development of evolutionary methods in Saint Petersburg school of biological modelling is traced and analyzed. Some pioneering works in simulation of ecological and evolutionary processes, performed in St.-Petersburg school became an exemplary ones for many followers in Russia and abroad. The individual-based approach became the crucial point in the history of the school as an adequate instrument for construction of models of biological evolution. This approach is natural for simulation of the evolution of life-history parameters and adaptive processes in populations and communities. In some cases simulated evolutionary process was used for solving a reverse problem, i. e., for estimation of uncertain life-history parameters of population. Evolutionary computations is one more aspect of this approach application in great many fields. The problems and vistas of ecological and evolutionary modelling in general are discussed.
Page, Louise R
A dramatic morphogenetic movement ('ontogenetic torsion') during the development of gastropods has been proposed as a recapitulation of the original developmental departure that established the novel gastropod body plan. Nevertheless, speculative literature about ontogenetic torsion and its evolutionary significance has far outstripped empirical observations and recent results suggest that the developmental process may be somewhat different than the traditional description. I used scanning electron microscopy, immunohistochemistry, phalloidin labeling, and histological sections to monitor displacements of five components of the visceropallium with respect to axial coordinates of the cephalopodium in developing embryos of the caenogastropod, Trichotropis cancellata. Embryos of this species achieve a transient stage of anatomical organization that also arises during development of a vetigastropod (Haliotis kamtschatkana), although morphogenetic processes that generate this stage are different in these two species. At the stage of similarity, the embryonic shell has achieved its definitive orientation with respect to the cephalopodium, but the developing mantle cavity, sensory osphradium, and anus are confined to the right side. I also show that this stage of anatomical organization is recognizable during the development of other gastropods, which collectively represent three major gastropod clades. I propose that ontogenetic torsion should be viewed as a conserved stage of anatomical organization during development, rather than a conserved process of 180 degrees rotation between the visceropallium and cephalopodium. The results lead to the suggestion that the mantle cavity of extant gastropods evolved by enlargement of the right side of the mantle cavity in a monoplacophoran-like ancestor. Under this interpretation, there is no need for a hypothetical pre-gastropod with a mantle cavity that was restricted to the posterior end.
Research on developmental pathways in model organisms provides key information on how to isolate, maintain, and differentiate human pluripotent stem cells. However, details of developmental pathways differ even across mammalian species. Full realization of the potential of stem cells will require more direct studies of human or primate developmental biology.
Echaubard, Pierre; Sripa, Banchob; Mallory, Frank F; Wilcox, Bruce A
Stimulated largely by the availability of new technology, biomedical research at the molecular-level and chemical-based control approaches arguably dominate the field of infectious diseases. Along with this, the proximate view of disease etiology predominates to the exclusion of the ultimate, evolutionary biology-based, causation perspective. Yet, historically and up to today, research in evolutionary biology has provided much of the foundation for understanding the mechanisms underlying disease transmission dynamics, virulence, and the design of effective integrated control strategies. Here we review the state of knowledge regarding the biology of Asian liver Fluke-host relationship, parasitology, phylodynamics, drug-based interventions and liver Fluke-related cancer etiology from an evolutionary biology perspective. We consider how evolutionary principles, mechanisms and research methods could help refine our understanding of clinical disease associated with infection by Liver Flukes as well as their transmission dynamics. We identify a series of questions for an evolutionary biology research agenda for the liver Fluke that should contribute to an increased understanding of liver Fluke-associated diseases. Finally, we describe an integrative evolutionary medicine approach to liver Fluke prevention and control highlighting the need to better contextualize interventions within a broader human health and sustainable development framework.
Latham, Luke G., II; Scully, Erik P.
Evolutionary processes can be studied in nature and in the laboratory, but time and financial constraints result in few opportunities for undergraduate and high school students to explore the agents of genetic change in populations. One alternative to time consuming and expensive teaching laboratories is the use of computer simulations. We…
Buchholtz, Emily A; Booth, Amy C; Webbink, Katherine E
The vertebral column of the Florida manatee presents an unusual suite of morphological traits. Key among these are a small precaudal count, elongate thoracic vertebrae, extremely short neural spines, lack of a sacral series, high lumbar variability, and the presence of six instead of seven cervical vertebrae. This study documents vertebral morphology, size, and lumbar variation in 71 skeletons of Trichechus manatus latirostris (Florida manatee) and uses the skeletons of Trichechus senegalensis (west African manatee) and Dugong dugon (dugong) in comparative analysis. Vertebral traits are used to define morphological, and by inference developmental, column modules and to propose their hierarchical relationships. A sequence of evolutionary innovations in column morphology is proposed. Results suggest that the origin of the fluke and low rates of cervical growth originated before separation of trichechids (manatees) and dugongids (dugongs). Meristic reduction in count is a later, trichechid innovation and is expressed across the entire precaudal column. Elongation of thoracic vertebrae may be an innovative strategy to generate an elongate column in an animal with a small precaudal count. Elimination of the lumbus through both meristic and homeotic reduction is currently in progress.
Hensley, Monica R.; Cui, Zhibin; Chua, Rhys F. M.; Simpson, Stefanie; Shammas, Nicole L.; Yang, Jer-Yen; Leung, Yuk Fai; Zhang, GuangJun
Gene co-option, usually after gene duplication, in the evolution of development is found to contribute to vertebrate morphological innovations, including the endothelium-based vascular system. Recently, a zebrafish kank gene was found expressed in the vascular vessel primordium, suggesting KANK genes are a component of the developmental tool kit for the vertebrate vascular system. However, how the KANK gene family is involved in vascular vessel development during evolution remains largely unknown. First, we analyzed the molecular evolution of the KANK genes in metazoan, and found that KANK1, KANK2, KANK3 and KANK4 emerged in the lineage of vertebrate, consistent with the two rounds of vertebrate whole-genome duplications (WGD). Moreover, KANK genes were further duplicated in teleosts through the bony-fish specific WGD, while only kank1 and kank4 duplicates were retained in some of the examined fish species. We also found all zebrafish kank genes, except kank1b, are primarily expressed during embryonic vascular development. Compared to invertebrate KANK gene expression in the central nervous system, the vascular expression of zebrafish kank genes suggested KANK genes were co-opted for vertebrate vascular development. Given the cellular roles of KANK genes, our results suggest that this co-option may facilitate the evolutionary origin of vertebrate vascular vessels. PMID:27292017
Schumacher, Linus J; Kulesa, Paul M; McLennan, Rebecca; Baker, Ruth E; Maini, Philip K
Mathematical models are becoming increasingly integrated with experimental efforts in the study of biological systems. Collective cell migration in developmental biology is a particularly fruitful application area for the development of theoretical models to predict the behaviour of complex multicellular systems with many interacting parts. In this context, mathematical models provide a tool to assess the consistency of experimental observations with testable mechanistic hypotheses. In this review, we showcase examples from recent years of multidisciplinary investigations of neural crest cell migration. The neural crest model system has been used to study how collective migration of cell populations is shaped by cell-cell interactions, cell-environmental interactions and heterogeneity between cells. The wide range of emergent behaviours exhibited by neural crest cells in different embryonal locations and in different organisms helps us chart out the spectrum of collective cell migration. At the same time, this diversity in migratory characteristics highlights the need to reconcile or unify the array of currently hypothesized mechanisms through the next generation of experimental data and generalized theoretical descriptions.
Three new ESA facilities will be available for biological experiments in Space, Biopack on the Space Shuttle and two instruments on the International Space Station (ISS): BIOLAB in the European "Columbus" Laboratory and the European Modular Cultivation System (EMCS) in the US Lab "Destiny". The experiments are housed in standard Experiment Containers, allowing either research in microgravity or acceleration studies with variable g-levels, if mounted on the centrifuges. While Biopack provides only thermal control, BIOLAB and EMCS supply each container with a dedicated atmosphere (controlled CO2, O2 concentration and relative humidity, trace gas removal): EMCS contains also fresh and wastewater reservoirs on its rotors. Power and data lines are available in all the described facilities. Highly automated systems, like BIOLAB's Handling Mechanism and Analysis Instruments, support the telescience concept and help reducing crew time in orbit. A BioGlovebox with its support instruments allows unique research possibilities in Space. The feasibility of experiment hardware inside the containers has been studied by ESA for several kinds of Experiment Support Equipment with potential use for research in Developmental Biology: design concepts for experiments with small eggs, cells and tissues, with small aquatic animals, with insects and with plants are described in this article.
Schumacher, Linus J.; Kulesa, Paul M.; McLennan, Rebecca; Baker, Ruth E.; Maini, Philip K.
Mathematical models are becoming increasingly integrated with experimental efforts in the study of biological systems. Collective cell migration in developmental biology is a particularly fruitful application area for the development of theoretical models to predict the behaviour of complex multicellular systems with many interacting parts. In this context, mathematical models provide a tool to assess the consistency of experimental observations with testable mechanistic hypotheses. In this review, we showcase examples from recent years of multidisciplinary investigations of neural crest cell migration. The neural crest model system has been used to study how collective migration of cell populations is shaped by cell–cell interactions, cell–environmental interactions and heterogeneity between cells. The wide range of emergent behaviours exhibited by neural crest cells in different embryonal locations and in different organisms helps us chart out the spectrum of collective cell migration. At the same time, this diversity in migratory characteristics highlights the need to reconcile or unify the array of currently hypothesized mechanisms through the next generation of experimental data and generalized theoretical descriptions. PMID:27278647
Levy-Shiff, Rachel; And Others
Examined the role of biological factors, such as perinatal complications, and psychological factors, such as maternal attitudes, in predicting developmental outcomes in preterm children. Findings support the main effects model of biological and environmental factors in explaining developmental psychopathology, but also the interactional model, as…
Although in a sense "genetic', the conceptual framework of evolutionary psychology, behavioural ecology and sociobiology is distinct from that of behaviour genetics. Considerable confusion has resulted from failures to recognize the distinctions. These disciplines are primarily concerned with the characterization of evolved adaptations, which are usually species-typical and environmentally contingent, so theory and research in these fields mainly concerns environmental rather than genetic sources of behavioural variation. Heritable behavioural variation is in general neither predicted by nor supportive of adaptationist theories. One might even say that substantial heritability of an apparently consequential attribute is a datum that challenges the tenets of adaptationism. Behaviour genetics and evolutionary adaptationism have had only limited mutual influence, but increasing knowledge of the processes by which genotypes affect behavioural phenotypes should facilitate development of a more synthetic approach.
da Silva, Paloma Rodrigues; de Andrade, Mariana A. Bologna Soares; de Andrade Caldeira, Ana Maria
Biology is a science that involves study of the diversity of living organisms. This diversity has always generated questions and has motivated cultures to seek plausible explanations for the differences and similarities between types of organisms. In biology teaching, these issues are addressed by adopting an evolutionary approach. The aim of this…
Servedio, Maria R; Brandvain, Yaniv; Dhole, Sumit; Fitzpatrick, Courtney L; Goldberg, Emma E; Stern, Caitlin A; Van Cleve, Jeremy; Yeh, D Justin
Progress in science often begins with verbal hypotheses meant to explain why certain biological phenomena exist. An important purpose of mathematical models in evolutionary research, as in many other fields, is to act as “proof-of-concept” tests of the logic in verbal explanations, paralleling the way in which empirical data are used to test hypotheses. Because not all subfields of biology use mathematics for this purpose, misunderstandings of the function of proof-of-concept modeling are common. In the hope of facilitating communication, we discuss the role of proof-of-concept modeling in evolutionary biology.
Akiyoshi, Bungo; Gull, Keith
Faithful transmission of genetic material is essential for the survival of all organisms. Eukaryotic chromosome segregation is driven by the kinetochore that assembles onto centromeric DNA to capture spindle microtubules and govern the movement of chromosomes. Its molecular mechanism has been actively studied in conventional model eukaryotes, such as yeasts, worms, flies and human. However, these organisms are closely related in the evolutionary time scale and it therefore remains unclear whether all eukaryotes use a similar mechanism. The evolutionary origins of the segregation apparatus also remain enigmatic. To gain insights into these questions, it is critical to perform comparative studies. Here, we review our current understanding of the mitotic mechanism in Trypanosoma brucei, an experimentally tractable kinetoplastid parasite that branched early in eukaryotic history. No canonical kinetochore component has been identified, and the design principle of kinetochores might be fundamentally different in kinetoplastids. Furthermore, these organisms do not appear to possess a functional spindle checkpoint that monitors kinetochore–microtubule attachments. With these unique features and the long evolutionary distance from other eukaryotes, understanding the mechanism of chromosome segregation in T. brucei should reveal fundamental requirements for the eukaryotic segregation machinery, and may also provide hints about the origin and evolution of the segregation apparatus. PMID:23635522
Williams, Joseph H
A remarkable number of the defining features of flowering plants are expressed during the life history stage between pollination and fertilization. Hand pollinations of Amborella trichopoda (Amborellaceae) in New Caledonia show that when the stigma is first receptive, the female gametophyte is near maturity. Pollen germinates within 2 h, and pollen tubes with callose walls and plugs grow entirely within secretions from stigma to stylar canal and ovarian cavity. Pollen tubes enter the micropyle within 14 h, and double fertilization occurs within 24 h. Hundreds of pollen tubes grow to the base of the stigma, but few enter the open stylar canal. New data from Amborella, combined with a review of fertilization biology of other early-divergent angiosperms, show that an evolutionary transition from slow reproduction to rapid reproduction occurred early in angiosperm history. I identify increased pollen tube growth rates within novel secretory carpel tissues as the primary mechanism for such a shift. The opportunity for prezygotic selection through interactions with the stigma is also an important innovation. Pollen tube wall construction and substantial modifications of the ovule and its associated structures greatly facilitated a new kind of reproductive biology.
Chen, Bor-Sen; Ho, Shih-Ju
In this study, a population of evolutionary biological networks is described by a stochastic dynamic system with intrinsic random parameter fluctuations due to genetic variations and external disturbances caused by environmental changes in the evolutionary process. Since information on environmental changes is unavailable and their occurrence is unpredictable, they can be considered as a game player with the potential to destroy phenotypic stability. The biological network needs to develop an evolutionary strategy to improve phenotypic stability as much as possible, so it can be considered as another game player in the evolutionary process, ie, a stochastic Nash game of minimizing the maximum network evolution level caused by the worst environmental disturbances. Based on the nonlinear stochastic evolutionary game strategy, we find that some genetic variations can be used in natural selection to construct negative feedback loops, efficiently improving network robustness. This provides larger genetic robustness as a buffer against neutral genetic variations, as well as larger environmental robustness to resist environmental disturbances and maintain a network phenotypic traits in the evolutionary process. In this situation, the robust phenotypic traits of stochastic biological networks can be more frequently selected by natural selection in evolution. However, if the harbored neutral genetic variations are accumulated to a sufficiently large degree, and environmental disturbances are strong enough that the network robustness can no longer confer enough genetic robustness and environmental robustness, then the phenotype robustness might break down. In this case, a network phenotypic trait may be pushed from one equilibrium point to another, changing the phenotypic trait and starting a new phase of network evolution through the hidden neutral genetic variations harbored in network robustness by adaptive evolution. Further, the proposed evolutionary game is extended to
Goswami, Anjali; Binder, Wendy J; Meachen, Julie; O'Keefe, F Robin
Variation is the raw material for natural selection, but the factors shaping variation are still poorly understood. Genetic and developmental interactions can direct variation, but there has been little synthesis of these effects with the extrinsic factors that can shape biodiversity over large scales. The study of phenotypic integration and modularity has the capacity to unify these aspects of evolutionary study by estimating genetic and developmental interactions through the quantitative analysis of morphology, allowing for combined assessment of intrinsic and extrinsic effects. Data from the fossil record in particular are central to our understanding of phenotypic integration and modularity because they provide the only information on deep-time developmental and evolutionary dynamics, including trends in trait relationships and their role in shaping organismal diversity. Here, we demonstrate the important perspective on phenotypic integration provided by the fossil record with a study of Smilodon fatalis (saber-toothed cats) and Canis dirus (dire wolves). We quantified temporal trends in size, variance, phenotypic integration, and direct developmental integration (fluctuating asymmetry) through 27,000 y of Late Pleistocene climate change. Both S. fatalis and C. dirus showed a gradual decrease in magnitude of phenotypic integration and an increase in variance and the correlation between fluctuating asymmetry and overall integration through time, suggesting that developmental integration mediated morphological response to environmental change in the later populations of these species. These results are consistent with experimental studies and represent, to our knowledge, the first deep-time validation of the importance of developmental integration in stabilizing morphological evolution through periods of environmental change.
Yang, M.; Park, J.-M.; Deem, M. W.
In this chapter we provide a thorough discussion of the theoretical description of the multi-site approach to cancer vaccination. The discussion is somewhat demanding from a biological point of view. References to primary biological publications are given. A general reference on immunology is .
Graham, A L
This editorial introduces the seven articles that comprise the Parasite Immunology special issue on the Evolutionary Biology of Host Defence. The rationale for an evolutionary approach to immunoparasitology is briefly outlined, and then the articles are placed in that broader context. A central aim of each article is to explain the generation and maintenance of immunological heterogeneity among hosts in nature. The authors describe new tools and approaches that enable unprecedented insight into evolutionary and immunological processes in both the laboratory and the wild. The examples discussed include insects, birds and mammals (as hosts) and trypanosomes, apicomplexans and nematodes (as parasites).
Mogi, Kazutaka; Nagasawa, Miho; Kikusui, Takefumi
Mother-infant bonding is universal to all mammalian species. Here, we review how mutual communication between the mother and infant leads to mother-infant bonding in non-primate species. In rodents, mother-infant bond formation is reinforced by various pup stimuli, such as tactile stimuli and ultrasonic vocalizations. Evidence suggests that the oxytocin neural system plays a pivotal role in each aspect of the mother-infant bonding, although the mechanisms underlying bond formation in the brain of infants has not yet been clarified. Impairment of mother-infant bonding strongly influences offspring sociality. We describe the negative effects of mother-infant bonding deprivation on the neurobehavioral development in rodent offspring, even if weaning occurs in the later lactating period. We also discuss similar effects observed in pigs and dogs, which are usually weaned earlier than under natural conditions. The comparative understanding of the developmental consequences of mother-infant bonding and the underlying mechanisms provide insight into the biological significance of this bonding in mammals, and may help us to understand psychiatric disorders related to child abuse or childhood neglect.
Evolution as an idea has a lengthy history, even though the idea of evolution is generally associated with Darwin today. Rebecca Stott provides an engaging and thoughtful overview of this history of evolutionary thinking in her 2013 book, Darwin's Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution. Since Darwin, the debate over evolution—both how it takes place and, in a long war of words with religiously-oriented thinkers, whether it takes place—has been sustained and heated. A growing share of this debate is now devoted to examining how evolutionary thinking affects areas outside of biology. How do our lives change when we recognize that all is in flux? What can we learn about life more generally if we study change instead of stasis? Carter Phipps’ book, Evolutionaries: Unlocking the Spiritual and Cultural Potential of Science's Greatest Idea, delves deep into this relatively new development. Phipps generally takes as a given the validity of the Modern Synthesis of evolutionary biology. His story takes us into, as the subtitle suggests, the spiritual and cultural implications of evolutionary thinking. Can religion and evolution be reconciled? Can evolutionary thinking lead to a new type of spirituality? Is our culture already being changed in ways that we don't realize by evolutionary thinking? These are all important questions and Phipps book is a great introduction to this discussion. Phipps is an author, journalist, and contributor to the emerging “integral” or “evolutionary” cultural movement that combines the insights of Integral Philosophy, evolutionary science, developmental psychology, and the social sciences. He has served as the Executive Editor of EnlightenNext magazine (no longer published) and more recently is the co-founder of the Institute for Cultural Evolution, a public policy think tank addressing the cultural roots of America's political challenges. What follows is an email interview with Phipps. PMID:26478766
Baquero, Fernando; Lanza, Val F; Cantón, Rafael; Coque, Teresa M
The three main processes shaping the evolutionary ecology of antibiotic resistance (AbR) involve the emergence, invasion and occupation by antibiotic-resistant genes of significant environments for human health. The process of emergence in complex bacterial populations is a high-frequency, continuous swarming of ephemeral combinatory genetic and epigenetic explorations inside cells and among cells, populations and communities, expanding in different environments (migration), creating the stochastic variation required for evolutionary progress. Invasion refers to the process by which AbR significantly increases in frequency in a given (invaded) environment, led by external invaders local multiplication and spread, or by endogenous conversion. Conversion occurs because of the spread of AbR genes from an exogenous resistant clone into an established (endogenous) bacterial clone(s) colonizing the environment; and/or because of dissemination of particular resistant genetic variants that emerged within an endogenous clonal population. Occupation of a given environment by a resistant variant means a permanent establishment of this organism in this environment, even in the absence of antibiotic selection. Specific interventions on emergence influence invasion, those acting on invasion also influence occupation and interventions on occupation determine emergence. Such interventions should be simultaneously applied, as they are not simple solutions to the complex problem of AbR.
Baquero, Fernando; Lanza, Val F; Cantón, Rafael; Coque, Teresa M
The three main processes shaping the evolutionary ecology of antibiotic resistance (AbR) involve the emergence, invasion and occupation by antibiotic-resistant genes of significant environments for human health. The process of emergence in complex bacterial populations is a high-frequency, continuous swarming of ephemeral combinatory genetic and epigenetic explorations inside cells and among cells, populations and communities, expanding in different environments (migration), creating the stochastic variation required for evolutionary progress. Invasion refers to the process by which AbR significantly increases in frequency in a given (invaded) environment, led by external invaders local multiplication and spread, or by endogenous conversion. Conversion occurs because of the spread of AbR genes from an exogenous resistant clone into an established (endogenous) bacterial clone(s) colonizing the environment; and/or because of dissemination of particular resistant genetic variants that emerged within an endogenous clonal population. Occupation of a given environment by a resistant variant means a permanent establishment of this organism in this environment, even in the absence of antibiotic selection. Specific interventions on emergence influence invasion, those acting on invasion also influence occupation and interventions on occupation determine emergence. Such interventions should be simultaneously applied, as they are not simple solutions to the complex problem of AbR. PMID:25861381
Jungck, John R; Weisstein, Anton E
The patterns of variation within a molecular sequence data set result from the interplay between population genetic, molecular evolutionary and macroevolutionary processes-the standard purview of evolutionary biologists. Elucidating these patterns, particularly for large data sets, requires an understanding of the structure, assumptions and limitations of the algorithms used by bioinformatics software-the domain of mathematicians and computer scientists. As a result, bioinformatics often suffers a 'two-culture' problem because of the lack of broad overlapping expertise between these two groups. Collaboration among specialists in different fields has greatly mitigated this problem among active bioinformaticians. However, science education researchers report that much of bioinformatics education does little to bridge the cultural divide, the curriculum too focused on solving narrow problems (e.g. interpreting pre-built phylogenetic trees) rather than on exploring broader ones (e.g. exploring alternative phylogenetic strategies for different kinds of data sets). Herein, we present an introduction to the mathematics of tree enumeration, tree construction, split decomposition and sequence alignment. We also introduce off-line downloadable software tools developed by the BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium to help students learn how to interpret and critically evaluate the results of standard bioinformatics analyses.
Richardson, Elisabeth; Zerr, Kelly; Tsaousis, Anastasios; Dorrell, Richard G; Dacks, Joel B
In animal and fungal model organisms, the complexities of cell biology have been analyzed in exquisite detail and much is known about how these organisms function at the cellular level. However, the model organisms cell biologists generally use include only a tiny fraction of the true diversity of eukaryotic cellular forms. The divergent cellular processes observed in these more distant lineages are still largely unknown in the general scientific community. Despite the relative obscurity of these organisms, comparative studies of them across eukaryotic diversity have had profound implications for our understanding of fundamental cell biology in all species and have revealed the evolution and origins of previously observed cellular processes. In this Perspective, we will discuss the complexity of cell biology found across the eukaryotic tree, and three specific examples of where studies of divergent cell biology have altered our understanding of key functional aspects of mitochondria, plastids, and membrane trafficking.
Carapito, Raphael; Bahram, Seiamak
Human and mouse NKG2D ligands (NKG2DLs) are absent or only poorly expressed by most normal cells but are upregulated by cell stress, hence, alerting the immune system in case of malignancy or infection. Although these ligands are numerous and highly variable (at genetic, genomic, structural, and biochemical levels), they all belong to the major histocompatibility complex class I gene superfamily and bind to a single, invariant, receptor: NKG2D. NKG2D (CD314) is an activating receptor expressed on NK cells and subsets of T cells that have a key role in the recognition and lysis of infected and tumor cells. Here, we review the molecular diversity of NKG2DLs, discuss the increasing appreciation of their roles in a variety of medical conditions, and propose several explanations for the evolutionary force(s) that seem to drive the multiplicity and diversity of NKG2DLs while maintaining their interaction with a single invariant receptor.
Shleĭkin, A G; Danilov, N P
Transglutaminasc (protein-glutamine gamma-glutamyltransferase, EC 220.127.116.11, TG) catalyzes reactions of the acyl transfer, which introduce the epsilon-(gamma-glutamyl)lysine bonds between proteins to create polymers of high mol. mass. Properties of the TG enzyme are described. Its structure is considered: there are characterized items of the TG life cycle and stability, its biological (physiological) role, and significance in pathology and medicine as well as obtaining of the purified enzyme preparations and their use. There are compared TG from different sources: of animal and microbial origin. Mechanism of catalysis of microbial TG is discussed. There are presented characteristics of isoenzymes from different biological sources.
Zenni, Rafael Dudeque; Dickie, Ian A; Wingfield, Michael J; Hirsch, Heidi; Crous, Casparus J; Meyerson, Laura A; Burgess, Treena I; Zimmermann, Thalita G; Klock, Metha M; Siemann, Evan; Erfmeier, Alexandra; Aragon, Roxana; Montti, Lia; Le Roux, Johannes J
Evolutionary processes greatly impact the outcomes of biological invasions. An extensive body of research suggests that invasive populations often undergo phenotypic and ecological divergence from their native sources. Evolution also operates at different and distinct stages during the invasion process. Thus, it is important to incorporate evolutionary change into frameworks of biological invasions because it allows us to conceptualize how these processes may facilitate or hinder invasion success. Here, we review such processes, with an emphasis on tree invasions, and place them in the context of the unified framework for biological invasions. The processes and mechanisms described are pre-introduction evolutionary history, sampling effect, founder effect, genotype-by-environment interactions, admixture, hybridization, polyploidization, rapid evolution, epigenetics, and second-genomes. For the last, we propose that co-evolved symbionts, both beneficial and harmful, which are closely physiologically associated with invasive species, contain critical genetic traits that affect the evolutionary dynamics of biological invasions. By understanding the mechanisms underlying invasion success, researchers will be better equipped to predict, understand, and manage biological invasions.
Shtulman, Andrew; Neal, Cara; Lindquist, Gabrielle
Research Findings: Evolution by natural selection is often relegated to the high school curriculum on the assumption that younger students cannot grasp its complexity. We sought to test that assumption by teaching children ages 4-12 (n = 96) a selection-based explanation for biological adaptation and comparing their success to that of adults…
For more than 150 years natural selection has been perceived to be the overwhelming force in evolution. Only in recent decades have we obtained new insights into environmental and physicochemical factors that participate with selection in a synergic way. Far from denying Darwin's theory, such neglected factors put order to the bewildering range of genotypes and morphologies found in living organisms and, more importantly, they place evolution in a planetary context where biology, geology, and chemistry can easily be integrated.
Knabe, Johannes F; Nehaniv, Chrystopher L; Schilstra, Maria J
We study the evolvability and dynamics of artificial genetic regulatory networks (GRNs), as active control systems, realizing simple models of biological clocks that have evolved to respond to periodic environmental stimuli of various kinds with appropriate periodic behaviors. GRN models may differ in the evolvability of expressive regulatory dynamics. A new class of artificial GRNs with an evolvable number of complex cis-regulatory control sites--each involving a finite number of inhibitory and activatory binding factors--is introduced, allowing realization of complex regulatory logic. Previous work on biological clocks in nature has noted the capacity of clocks to oscillate in the absence of environmental stimuli, putting forth several candidate explanations for their observed behavior, related to anticipation of environmental conditions, compartmentation of activities in time, and robustness to perturbations of various kinds or to unselected accidents of neutral selection. Several of these hypotheses are explored by evolving GRNs with and without (Gaussian) noise and blackout periods for environmental stimulation. Robustness to certain types of perturbation appears to account for some, but not all, dynamical properties of the evolved networks. Unselected abilities, also observed for biological clocks, include the capacity to adapt to change in wavelength of environmental stimulus and to clock resetting.
Szekely, Pablo; Sheftel, Hila; Mayo, Avi; Alon, Uri
Biological regulatory systems face a fundamental tradeoff: they must be effective but at the same time also economical. For example, regulatory systems that are designed to repair damage must be effective in reducing damage, but economical in not making too many repair proteins because making excessive proteins carries a fitness cost to the cell, called protein burden. In order to see how biological systems compromise between the two tasks of effectiveness and economy, we applied an approach from economics and engineering called Pareto optimality. This approach allows calculating the best-compromise systems that optimally combine the two tasks. We used a simple and general model for regulation, known as integral feedback, and showed that best-compromise systems have particular combinations of biochemical parameters that control the response rate and basal level. We find that the optimal systems fall on a curve in parameter space. Due to this feature, even if one is able to measure only a small fraction of the system's parameters, one can infer the rest. We applied this approach to estimate parameters in three biological systems: response to heat shock and response to DNA damage in bacteria, and calcium homeostasis in mammals. PMID:23950698
Jiang, Chao; Caccamo, Paul D; Brun, Yves V
How Darwin's "endless forms most beautiful" have evolved remains one of the most exciting questions in biology. The significant variety of bacterial shapes is most likely due to the specific advantages they confer with respect to the diverse environments they occupy. While our understanding of the mechanisms generating relatively simple shapes has improved tremendously in the last few years, the molecular mechanisms underlying the generation of complex shapes and the evolution of shape diversity are largely unknown. The emerging field of bacterial evolutionary cell biology provides a novel strategy to answer this question in a comparative phylogenetic framework. This relatively novel approach provides hypotheses and insights into cell biological mechanisms, such as morphogenesis, and their evolution that would have been difficult to obtain by studying only model organisms. We discuss the necessary steps, challenges, and impact of integrating "evolutionary thinking" into bacterial cell biology in the genomic era.
Jiang, Chao; Caccamo, Paul D.; Brun, Yves V.
How Darwin’s “endless forms most beautiful” have evolved remains one of the most exciting questions in biology. The significant variety of bacterial shapes is most likely due to the specific advantages they confer with respect to the diverse environments they occupy. While our understanding of the mechanisms generating relatively simple shapes has improved tremendously in the last few years, the molecular mechanisms underlying the generation of complex shapes and the evolution of shape diversity are largely unknown. The emerging field of bacterial evolutionary cell biology provides a novel strategy to answer this question in a comparative phylogenetic framework. This relatively novel approach provides hypotheses and insights into cell biological mechanisms, such as morphogenesis, and their evolution that would have been difficult to obtain by studying only model organisms. We discuss the necessary steps, challenges, and impact of integrating “evolutionary thinking” into bacterial cell biology in the genomic era. PMID:25664446
Koonin, Eugene V.; Wolf, Yuri I.
When Charles Darwin formulated the central principles of evolutionary biology in the Origin of Species in 1859 and the architects of the Modern Synthesis integrated these principles with population genetics almost a century later, the principal if not the sole objects of evolutionary biology were multicellular eukaryotes, primarily animals and plants. Before the advent of efficient gene sequencing, all attempts to extend evolutionary studies to bacteria have been futile. Sequencing of the rRNA genes in thousands of microbes allowed the construction of the three- domain “ribosomal Tree of Life” that was widely thought to have resolved the evolutionary relationships between the cellular life forms. However, subsequent massive sequencing of numerous, complete microbial genomes revealed novel evolutionary phenomena, the most fundamental of these being: (1) pervasive horizontal gene transfer (HGT), in large part mediated by viruses and plasmids, that shapes the genomes of archaea and bacteria and call for a radical revision (if not abandonment) of the Tree of Life concept, (2) Lamarckian-type inheritance that appears to be critical for antivirus defense and other forms of adaptation in prokaryotes, and (3) evolution of evolvability, i.e., dedicated mechanisms for evolution such as vehicles for HGT and stress-induced mutagenesis systems. In the non-cellular part of the microbial world, phylogenomics and metagenomics of viruses and related selfish genetic elements revealed enormous genetic and molecular diversity and extremely high abundance of viruses that come across as the dominant biological entities on earth. Furthermore, the perennial arms race between viruses and their hosts is one of the defining factors of evolution. Thus, microbial phylogenomics adds new dimensions to the fundamental picture of evolution even as the principle of descent with modification discovered by Darwin and the laws of population genetics remain at the core of evolutionary biology. PMID
Koonin, Eugene V; Wolf, Yuri I
When Charles Darwin formulated the central principles of evolutionary biology in the Origin of Species in 1859 and the architects of the Modern Synthesis integrated these principles with population genetics almost a century later, the principal if not the sole objects of evolutionary biology were multicellular eukaryotes, primarily animals and plants. Before the advent of efficient gene sequencing, all attempts to extend evolutionary studies to bacteria have been futile. Sequencing of the rRNA genes in thousands of microbes allowed the construction of the three- domain "ribosomal Tree of Life" that was widely thought to have resolved the evolutionary relationships between the cellular life forms. However, subsequent massive sequencing of numerous, complete microbial genomes revealed novel evolutionary phenomena, the most fundamental of these being: (1) pervasive horizontal gene transfer (HGT), in large part mediated by viruses and plasmids, that shapes the genomes of archaea and bacteria and call for a radical revision (if not abandonment) of the Tree of Life concept, (2) Lamarckian-type inheritance that appears to be critical for antivirus defense and other forms of adaptation in prokaryotes, and (3) evolution of evolvability, i.e., dedicated mechanisms for evolution such as vehicles for HGT and stress-induced mutagenesis systems. In the non-cellular part of the microbial world, phylogenomics and metagenomics of viruses and related selfish genetic elements revealed enormous genetic and molecular diversity and extremely high abundance of viruses that come across as the dominant biological entities on earth. Furthermore, the perennial arms race between viruses and their hosts is one of the defining factors of evolution. Thus, microbial phylogenomics adds new dimensions to the fundamental picture of evolution even as the principle of descent with modification discovered by Darwin and the laws of population genetics remain at the core of evolutionary biology.
Moore, Gregory D.
South Carolina biology Indicator 5.6 calls for students to "Summarize ways that scientists use data from a variety of sources to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory" (South Carolina Department of Education, 2006). Levinson and Sutton (2001) offered a sociocultural approach to policy that considers cultural…
Saraswati, Sitaraman; Sitaraman, Ramakrishnan
Given the centrality of evolutionary theory to the study of biology, we present a strategy for reinforcing its importance by appropriately recontextualizing classic and well-known experiments that are not explicitly linked with evolution in conventional texts. This exercise gives students an appreciation of the applicability of the theory of…
Passmore, Cynthia; Stewart, James
Recent education reform documents emphasize the need for students to develop a rich understanding of evolution's power to integrate knowledge of the natural world. This paper describes a nine-week high school course designed to help students understand evolutionary biology by engaging them in developing, elaborating, and using Charles Darwin's…
Saraswati, Sitaraman; Sitaraman, Ramakrishnan
Given the centrality of evolutionary theory to the study of biology, we present a strategy for reinforcing its importance by appropriately recontextualizing classic and well-known experiments that are not explicitly linked with evolution in conventional texts. This exercise gives students an appreciation of the applicability of the theory of evolution in diverse contexts, including those where it is not explicitly mentioned.
In this chapter, I give my personal reflections on more than 30 years of studying developmental biology in the mouse model, spending 20 of those years doing research in Maine, a small rural state. I also give my thoughts on my recent experience transitioning to a large medical center in Maine, and the issues involved with integrating insights from developmental biology and regenerative medicine into the fabric of translational and clinical patient care in such an environment.
Hut, Roelof A.; Paolucci, Silvia; Dor, Roi; Kyriacou, Charalambos P.; Daan, Serge
Properties of the circadian and annual timing systems are expected to vary systematically with latitude on the basis of different annual light and temperature patterns at higher latitudes, creating specific selection pressures. We review literature with respect to latitudinal clines in circadian phenotypes as well as in polymorphisms of circadian clock genes and their possible association with annual timing. The use of latitudinal (and altitudinal) clines in identifying selective forces acting on biological rhythms is discussed, and we evaluate how these studies can reveal novel molecular and physiological components of these rhythms. PMID:23825204
Bard, Jonathan Bl
The evolutionary synthesis, the standard 20th century view of how evolutionary change occurs, is based on selection, heritable phenotypic variation and a very simple view of genes. It is therefore unable to incorporate two key aspects of modern molecular knowledge: first is the richness of genomic variation, so much more complicated than simple mutation, and second is the opaque relationship between the genotype and its resulting phenotype. Two new and important books shed some light on how we should view evolutionary change now. "Evolution: a view from the 21st century" by J.A. Shapiro (2011, FT Press Science, New Jersey, USA. pp. 246) examines the richness of genomic variation and its implications. "Transformations of Lamarckism: from Subtle Fluids to Molecular Biology" edited by S.B. Gissis & E. Jablonka (2011, MIT Press, Cambridge, USA. pp. 457) includes some 40 papers that anyone with an interest in the history of evolutionary thought and the relationship between the environment and the genome will want to read. This review discusses both books within the context of contemporary evolutionary thinking and points out that neither really comes to terms with today's key systems-biology question: how does mutation-induced variation in a molecular network generate variation in the resulting phenotype?
Chen, Bor-Sen; Lin, Ying-Po
In the evolutionary process, the random transmission and mutation of genes provide biological diversities for natural selection. In order to preserve functional phenotypes between generations, gene networks need to evolve robustly under the influence of random perturbations. Therefore, the robustness of the phenotype, in the evolutionary process, exerts a selection force on gene networks to keep network functions. However, gene networks need to adjust, by variations in genetic content, to generate phenotypes for new challenges in the network’s evolution, ie, the evolvability. Hence, there should be some interplay between the evolvability and network robustness in evolutionary gene networks. In this study, the interplay between the evolvability and network robustness of a gene network and a biochemical network is discussed from a nonlinear stochastic system point of view. It was found that if the genetic robustness plus environmental robustness is less than the network robustness, the phenotype of the biological network is robust in evolution. The tradeoff between the genetic robustness and environmental robustness in evolution is discussed from the stochastic stability robustness and sensitivity of the nonlinear stochastic biological network, which may be relevant to the statistical tradeoff between bias and variance, the so-called bias/variance dilemma. Further, the tradeoff could be considered as an antagonistic pleiotropic action of a gene network and discussed from the systems biology perspective. PMID:22084563
Barton, Michael D; Delneri, Daniela; Oliver, Stephen G; Rattray, Magnus; Bergman, Casey M
Every protein has a biosynthetic cost to the cell based on the synthesis of its constituent amino acids. In order to optimise growth and reproduction, natural selection is expected, where possible, to favour the use of proteins whose constituents are cheaper to produce, as reduced biosynthetic cost may confer a fitness advantage to the organism. Quantifying the cost of amino acid biosynthesis presents challenges, since energetic requirements may change across different cellular and environmental conditions. We developed a systems biology approach to estimate the cost of amino acid synthesis based on genome-scale metabolic models and investigated the effects of the cost of amino acid synthesis on Saccharomyces cerevisiae gene expression and protein evolution. First, we used our two new and six previously reported measures of amino acid cost in conjunction with codon usage bias, tRNA gene number and atomic composition to identify which of these factors best predict transcript and protein levels. Second, we compared amino acid cost with rates of amino acid substitution across four species in the genus Saccharomyces. Regardless of which cost measure is used, amino acid biosynthetic cost is weakly associated with transcript and protein levels. In contrast, we find that biosynthetic cost and amino acid substitution rates show a negative correlation, but for only a subset of cost measures. In the economy of the yeast cell, we find that the cost of amino acid synthesis plays a limited role in shaping transcript and protein expression levels compared to that of translational optimisation. Biosynthetic cost does, however, appear to affect rates of amino acid evolution in Saccharomyces, suggesting that expensive amino acids may only be used when they have specific structural or functional roles in protein sequences. However, as there appears to be no single currency to compute the cost of amino acid synthesis across all cellular and environmental conditions, we conclude that
The origins of modern Plant Developmental Biology in Spain can be traced back to a handful of scientists settled in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Sevilla, who devoted themselves to plant biochemistry, molecular biology and genetics, and also to Drosophila developmental biology, which influenced, often unintentionally, the pioneers of this field. To reach the present day situation, the experience acquired in centres abroad has also been important, especially in plant research institutes in the USA, Germany (Max-Planck Institute für Züchtungsforschung) and United Kingdom (John Innes Centre). The contributions of Spanish scientists to the advancement of Plant Developmental Biology appears to be imbalanced towards reproductive biology, although relevant publications have also been reported on embryogenesis and seed development, shoot branching, tuberization, vascular morphogenesis, leaf development, regulation of development by light, signal transduction and hormone action and the connection between growth and development. Plant Developmental Biology in Spain is going through a flourishing time, with its future being highly dependent on i) appropriate funding conditions to its young scientists, ii) the opening of new areas of research, iii) the incorporation of technological breakthroughs into laboratories and iv) the carrying out of cooperative research by means of networking. Currently, besides many Departments of the Spanish universities, several centres in which competitive research in plant Developmental Biology can be accomplished, exist: the CNB and CBGP in Madrid, the LGMV CSIC-IRTA in Barcelona, the IBMCP CSIC-UPV, in Valencia and the IBVF CSIC-USE in Sevilla. Let's go for more!
O'Malley, Maureen A
Systems biology (SB) is at least a decade old now and maturing rapidly. A more recent field, evolutionary systems biology (ESB), is in the process of further developing system-level approaches through the expansion of their explanatory and potentially predictive scope. This chapter will outline the varieties of ESB existing today by tracing the diverse roots and fusions that make up this integrative project. My approach is philosophical and historical. As well as examining the recent origins of ESB, I will reflect on its central features and the different clusters of research it comprises. In its broadest interpretation, ESB consists of five overlapping approaches: comparative and correlational ESB; network architecture ESB; network property ESB; population genetics ESB; and finally, standard evolutionary questions answered with SB methods. After outlining each approach with examples, I will examine some strong general claims about ESB, particularly that it can be viewed as the next step toward a fuller modern synthesis of evolutionary biology (EB), and that it is also the way forward for evolutionary and systems medicine. I will conclude with a discussion of whether the emerging field of ESB has the capacity to combine an even broader scope of research aims and efforts than it presently does.
Jaeger, Johannes; Laubichler, Manfred; Callebaut, Werner
In a recent opinion piece, Denis Duboule has claimed that the increasing shift towards systems biology is driving evolutionary and developmental biology apart, and that a true reunification of these two disciplines within the framework of evolutionary developmental biology (EvoDevo) may easily take another 100 years. He identifies methodological, epistemological, and social differences as causes for this supposed separation. Our article provides a contrasting view. We argue that Duboule's prediction is based on a one-sided understanding of systems biology as a science that is only interested in functional, not evolutionary, aspects of biological processes. Instead, we propose a research program for an evolutionary systems biology, which is based on local exploration of the configuration space in evolving developmental systems. We call this approach-which is based on reverse engineering, simulation, and mathematical analysis-the natural history of configuration space. We discuss a number of illustrative examples that demonstrate the past success of local exploration, as opposed to global mapping, in different biological contexts. We argue that this pragmatic mode of inquiry can be extended and applied to the mathematical analysis of the developmental repertoire and evolutionary potential of evolving developmental mechanisms and that evolutionary systems biology so conceived provides a pragmatic epistemological framework for the EvoDevo synthesis.
Gomes Rodrigues, Helder; Solé, Floréal; Charles, Cyril; Tafforeau, Paul; Vianey-Liaud, Monique; Viriot, Laurent
Dental characters are importantly used for reconstructing the evolutionary history of mammals, because teeth represent the most abundant material available for the fossil species. However, the characteristics of dental renewal are presently poorly used, probably because dental formulae are frequently not properly established, whereas they could be of high interest for evolutionary and developmental issues. One of the oldest rodent families, the Ctenodactylidae, is intriguing in having longstanding disputed dental formulae. Here, we investigated 70 skulls among all extant ctenodactylid genera (Ctenodactylus, Felovia, Massoutiera and Pectinator) by using X-ray conventional and synchrotron microtomography in order to solve and discuss these dental issues. Our study clearly indicates that Massoutiera, Felovia and Ctenodactylus differ from Pectinator not only by a more derived dentition, but also by a more derived eruptive sequence. In addition to molars, their dentition only includes the fourth deciduous premolars, and no longer bears permanent premolars, conversely to Pectinator. Moreover, we found that these premolars are lost during adulthood, because of mesial drift of molars. Mesial drift is a striking mechanism involving migration of teeth allowed by both bone remodeling and dental resorption. This dental innovation is to date poorly known in rodents, since it is only the second report described. Interestingly, we noted that dental drift in rodents is always associated with high-crowned teeth favoring molar size enlargement. It can thus represent another adaptation to withstand high wear, inasmuch as these rodents inhabit desert environments where dust is abundant. A more accurate study of mesial drift in rodents would be very promising from evolutionary, biological and orthodontic points of view.
Gomes Rodrigues, Helder; Solé, Floréal; Charles, Cyril; Tafforeau, Paul; Vianey-Liaud, Monique; Viriot, Laurent
Dental characters are importantly used for reconstructing the evolutionary history of mammals, because teeth represent the most abundant material available for the fossil species. However, the characteristics of dental renewal are presently poorly used, probably because dental formulae are frequently not properly established, whereas they could be of high interest for evolutionary and developmental issues. One of the oldest rodent families, the Ctenodactylidae, is intriguing in having longstanding disputed dental formulae. Here, we investigated 70 skulls among all extant ctenodactylid genera (Ctenodactylus, Felovia, Massoutiera and Pectinator) by using X-ray conventional and synchrotron microtomography in order to solve and discuss these dental issues. Our study clearly indicates that Massoutiera, Felovia and Ctenodactylus differ from Pectinator not only by a more derived dentition, but also by a more derived eruptive sequence. In addition to molars, their dentition only includes the fourth deciduous premolars, and no longer bears permanent premolars, conversely to Pectinator. Moreover, we found that these premolars are lost during adulthood, because of mesial drift of molars. Mesial drift is a striking mechanism involving migration of teeth allowed by both bone remodeling and dental resorption. This dental innovation is to date poorly known in rodents, since it is only the second report described. Interestingly, we noted that dental drift in rodents is always associated with high-crowned teeth favoring molar size enlargement. It can thus represent another adaptation to withstand high wear, inasmuch as these rodents inhabit desert environments where dust is abundant. A more accurate study of mesial drift in rodents would be very promising from evolutionary, biological and orthodontic points of view. PMID:23185576
Tissue cyst stages are an intriguing aspect of the developmental cycle and transmission of members of the Family Sarcocystidae. Tissue cyst stages of the genera Toxoplasma, Hammondia, Neospora, Besnoitia, and Sarcocystis contain many infectious stages (bradyzoites).The tissue cyst stage of Cystoisos...
Stamps, Judy A; Groothuis, Ton G G
Developmental processes can have major impacts on the correlations in behaviour across contexts (contextual generality) and across time (temporal consistency) that are the hallmarks of animal personality. Personality can and does change: at any given age or life stage it is contingent upon a wide range of experiential factors that occurred earlier in life, from prior to conception through adulthood. We show how developmental reaction norms that describe the effects of prior experience on a given behaviour can be used to determine whether the effects of a given experience at a given age will affect contextual generality at a later age, and to illustrate how variation within individuals in developmental plasticity leads to variation in contextual generality across individuals as a function of experience. We also show why niche-picking and niche-construction, behavioural processes which allow individuals to affect their own developmental environment, can affect the contextual generality and the temporal consistency of personality. We conclude by discussing how an appreciation of developmental processes can alert behavioural ecologists studying animal personality to critical, untested assumptions that underlie their own research programmes, and outline situations in which a developmental perspective can improve studies of the functional significance and evolution of animal personality.
This article discusses newer views of functional developmental plasticity occurring after biological insults to the developing central nervous system (CNS), including concepts of neurobehavioral outcome and ways to measure it, biological risk, age and development at onset of CNS insult, time since onset of CNS insult, and reserve. (Contains…
Wideman, Jeremy G; Leung, Ka Fai; Field, Mark C; Dacks, Joel B
Evolutionary cell biology can afford an interdisciplinary comparative view that gives insights into both the functioning of modern cells and the origins of cellular systems, including the endocytic organelles. Here, we explore several recent evolutionary cell biology studies, highlighting investigations into the origin and diversity of endocytic systems in eukaryotes. Beginning with a brief overview of the eukaryote tree of life, we show how understanding the endocytic machinery in a select, but diverse, array of organisms provides insights into endocytic system origins and predicts the likely configuration in the last eukaryotic common ancestor (LECA). Next, we consider three examples in which a comparative approach yielded insight into the function of modern cellular systems. First, using ESCRT-0 as an example, we show how comparative cell biology can discover both lineage-specific novelties (ESCRT-0) as well as previously ignored ancient proteins (Tom1), likely of both evolutionary and functional importance. Second, we highlight the power of comparative cell biology for discovery of previously ignored but potentially ancient complexes (AP5). Finally, using examples from ciliates and trypanosomes, we show that not all organisms possess canonical endocytic pathways, but instead likely evolved lineage-specific mechanisms. Drawing from these case studies, we conclude that a comparative approach is a powerful strategy for advancing knowledge about the general mechanisms and functions of endocytic systems.
Palmeirim, Isabel; Aréchaga, Juan
We revise the historical evolution of the societies devoted to Developmental Biology from the early activities of the Institut International dEmbryologie (IIE), founded in 1911, with particular emphasis on the more recent constitution of the Spanish Sociedad Española de Biología del Desarrollo (SEBD), founded in 1994, and the Portuguese Sociedade Portuguesa de Biologia do Desenvolvimento (SPBD), founded in 2006. We also describe the role played by The International Journal of Developmental Biology (IJDB) in the constitution of the SEBD and its projection and support to international Developmental Biology societies and individual researchers in the world, according to its mission to be a non-for-profit publication for scientists, by scientists.
Ascidians are the closest relatives of vertebrates. Their utility in experimental embryology has been well recognized because of their simple mode of embryogenesis to form tadpole larvae with a basal chordate body plan. Approximately two decades of research, including decoding of the Ciona genome, have promoted ascidians as one of the best systems for exploring genome-wide mechanisms of developmental transcriptional control and chordate evolution.
LaMantia, Anthony-Samuel; Moody, Sally A.; Maynard, Thomas M.; Karpinski, Beverly A.; Zohn, Irene E.; Mendelowitz, David; Lee, Norman H.; Popratiloff, Anastas
Pediatric dysphagia—feeding and swallowing difficulties that begin at birth, last throughout childhood, and continue into maturity—is one of the most common, least understood complications in children with developmental disorders. We argue that a major cause of pediatric dysphagia is altered hindbrain patterning during pre-natal development. Such changes can compromise craniofacial structures including oropharyngeal muscles and skeletal elements as well as motor and sensory circuits necessary for normal feeding and swallowing. Animal models of developmental disorders that include pediatric dysphagia in their phenotypic spectrum can provide mechanistic insight into pathogenesis of feeding and swallowing difficulties. A fairly common human genetic developmental disorder, DiGeorge/22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome (22q11DS) includes a substantial incidence of pediatric dysphagia in its phenotypic spectrum. Infant mice carrying a parallel deletion to 22q11DS patients have feeding and swallowing difficulties. Altered hindbrain patterning, neural crest migration, craniofacial malformations, and changes in cranial nerve growth prefigure these difficulties. Thus, in addition to craniofacial and pharyngeal anomalies that arise independently of altered neural development, pediatric dysphagia may reflect disrupted hindbrain patterning and its impact on neural circuit development critical for feeding and swallowing. The mechanisms that disrupt hindbrain patterning and circuitry may provide a foundation to develop novel therapeutic approaches for improved clinical management of pediatric dysphagia. PMID:26554723
Greve, Werner; Bjorklund, David F.
We extend an evolutionary perspective of development to the lifespan, proposing that human longevity may be related to the experience, knowledge, and wisdom provided by older members of human groups. In addition to the assistance in childcare provided by grandmothers to their daughters, the experience of wise elders could have served to benefit…
Virtual tissue (VT) models provide an in silico environment to simulate cross-scale properties in specific tissues or organs based on knowledge of the underlying biological networks. These integrative models capture the fundamental interactions in a biological system and enable ...
Taneyhill, Lisa A; Hoover-Fong, Julie; Lozanoff, Scott; Marcucio, Ralph; Richtsmeier, Joan T; Trainor, Paul A
The mission of the Society for Craniofacial Genetics and Developmental Biology (SCGDB) is to promote education, research, and communication about normal and abnormal development of the tissues and organs of the head. The SCGDB welcomes as members undergraduate students, graduate students, post doctoral researchers, clinicians, orthodontists, scientists, and academicians who share an interest in craniofacial biology. Each year our members come together to share their novel findings, build upon, and challenge current knowledge of craniofacial biology. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
An argument has been raised from various perspectives against the Modern Synthesis (MS) in the past two decades: it has forgotten organisms. Niche construction theorists (Odling-Smee et al. 2003), developmental biologists like West-Eberhard (2003) and Evo-Devo elaborated various views which concur on a rehabilitation of the explanatory role of organisms, formerly neglected by an evolutionary science mostly centered on genes. This paper aims at assessing such criticisms by unraveling the specific arguments they use and evaluating how empirical findings may support them. In the first section, I review the usual critiques about the way MS treats organisms and show that the organisms-concerned critique is multifaceted, and I use the controversy about units of selection in order to show that purely conceptual and empirical arguments have been mixed up when organisms were concerned. In the second section, I consider successively the challenges raised to evolutionary MS by structuralist biologists and then the developmentalist challenge mostly raised by Evo-Devo. I distinguish what is purely conceptual among those criticisms and what mostly relies on recent empirical findings about genome activation, inheritance, and epigenetics. The last section discusses another program in MS, namely "evolutionary transitions" research, as enquiry into the emergence of organisms.
Gordon, Malcolm S; Notar, Julia C
Convergent evolutionary analogies (homoplasies) of many kinds occur in diverse phylogenetic clades/lineages on both the animal and plant branches of the Tree of Life. Living organisms whose last common ancestors lived millions to hundreds of millions of years ago have later converged morphologically, behaviorally or at other levels of functionality (from molecular genetics through biochemistry, physiology and other organismic processes) as a result of long term strong natural selection that has constrained and channeled evolutionary processes. This happens most often when organisms belonging to different clades occupy ecological niches, habitats or environments sharing major characteristics that select for a relatively narrow range of organismic properties. Systems biology, broadly defined, provides theoretical and methodological approaches that are beginning to make it possible to answer a perennial evolutionary biological question relating to convergent homoplasies: Are at least some of the apparent analogies actually unrecognized homologies? This review provides an overview of the current state of knowledge of important aspects of this topic area. It also provides a resource describing many homoplasies that may be fruitful subjects for systems biological research.
Carlson, Jane E; Holsinger, Kent E
Local adaptation along steep environmental gradients likely contributes to plant diversity in the Cape Region of South Africa, yet existing analyses of trait divergence are limited to static measurements of functional traits rather than trajectories of individual development. We explore whether five taxa of evergreen shrubs (Protea section Exsertae) differ in their developmental trajectories and capacity for plasticity using two environmentally-distinct common gardens in South Africa. We measured seedlings in the summer-dry season and winter-wet season of each of two consecutive years to characterize ontogeny and plasticity within years, as same-age leaf cohorts mature, and between years, i.e., from leaf one cohort to the next. We compared patterns of development between gardens to assess whether trait trajectories are programmed versus plastic and examined whether developmental differences covaried with characteristics of a seedling's home environment. We detected plasticity in developmental trajectories for leaf area, stomatal size, stomatal pore index, and to a limited extent specific leaf area, but not for stomatal density. We showed that the species growing in the harshest environments exhibits both the smallest increase in leaf area between years and the least change in SLA and photosynthetic rates as leaves age within years. These results show that within this clade, species have diverged in developmental trajectories and plasticity as well as in mean trait values. Some of these differences may be associated with adaptation to cold and drought stress within an environmentally-complex region.
Carlson, Jane E.; Holsinger, Kent E.
Local adaptation along steep environmental gradients likely contributes to plant diversity in the Cape Region of South Africa, yet existing analyses of trait divergence are limited to static measurements of functional traits rather than trajectories of individual development. We explore whether five taxa of evergreen shrubs (Protea section Exsertae) differ in their developmental trajectories and capacity for plasticity using two environmentally-distinct common gardens in South Africa. We measured seedlings in the summer-dry season and winter-wet season of each of two consecutive years to characterize ontogeny and plasticity within years, as same-age leaf cohorts mature, and between years, i.e., from leaf one cohort to the next. We compared patterns of development between gardens to assess whether trait trajectories are programmed versus plastic and examined whether developmental differences covaried with characteristics of a seedling’s home environment. We detected plasticity in developmental trajectories for leaf area, stomatal size, stomatal pore index, and to a limited extent specific leaf area, but not for stomatal density. We showed that the species growing in the harshest environments exhibits both the smallest increase in leaf area between years and the least change in SLA and photosynthetic rates as leaves age within years. These results show that within this clade, species have diverged in developmental trajectories and plasticity as well as in mean trait values. Some of these differences may be associated with adaptation to cold and drought stress within an environmentally-complex region. PMID:23272203
Gilbert, Scott F
The environment plays instructive roles in development and selective roles in evolution. This essay reviews several of the instructive roles whereby the organism has evolved to receive cues from the environment in order to modulate its developmental trajectory. The environmental cues can be abiotic (such as temperature or photoperiod) or biotic (such as those emanating from predators, conspecifics, or food), and the "alteration" produces a normal, not a pathological, phenotype, that is appropriate for the environment. In addition, symbiotic organisms can produce important signals during normal development. Environmental cues can be obligatory, such that the organism cannot develop without the environmental cue. These cues often permit and instruct the organism to proceed from one developmental stage to another, as when larvae receive cues to settle and undergo metamorphosis from substrates. Such obligatory cues can also be given by symbionts, as when Wolbachia bacteria prevent apoptosis in developing ovaries of some wasps. Other environmental cues can be used facultatively, allowing organisms to follow different developmental trajectories depending on whether the cue is present or not. This can be seen in the temperature-dependent determination of sex in many reptiles and in the determination of thermotolerance in aphids by their symbiotic bacteria. Signaling from the environment is essential in development, and co-development appears to be normative between symbionts and their hosts. Here, one sees the reciprocal induction of gene expression, just as within the embryonic organism. The ability of organisms to respond to environmental cues by producing different phenotypes may be critically important in evolution, and it may be an essential feature that can facilitate or limit evolution.
Skawiński, Tomasz; Tałanda, Mateusz
Numerous new discoveries and new research techniques have influenced our understanding of reptile development from a palaeontological perspective. They suggest for example that transition from mineralized to leathery eggshells and from oviparity to viviparity appeared much more often in the evolution of reptiles than was previously thought. Most marine reptiles evolved from viviparous terrestrial ancestors and had probably genetic sex determination. Fossil forms often display developmental traits absent or rare among modern ones such as polydactyly, hyperphalangy, the presence of ribcage armour, reduction of head ornamentation during ontogeny, extreme modifications of vertebral count or a wide range of feather-like structures. Thus, they provide an empirical background for many morphogenetic considerations.
Boutwell, Brian B; Barnes, J C; Deaton, Raelynn; Beaver, Kevin M
The study of human crime and violence represents a flashpoint for discussion across academia. Multiple theories exist pertaining to the topic, all aimed at organizing numerous findings surrounding correlates of antisocial behavior. Along these lines, Moffitt's developmental taxonomy has emerged as a theory well supported by empirical research. Noticeably absent, though, has been an effort to apply an evolutionary framework to Moffitt's dual taxonomy of offending. With this in mind, the current study is intended to examine Moffitt's different typologies in the context of Rushton's Differential K theory (an adaptation of r-K selection from life history theory). Our findings suggest that life-course persistent offending may represent a viable reproductive strategy characterized by higher levels of sexual involvement over the life-course.
Vendetti, Michael S; Bunge, Silvia A
Relational thinking, or the ability to represent the relations between items, is widespread in the animal kingdom. However, humans are unparalleled in their ability to engage in the higher-order relational thinking required for reasoning and other forms of abstract thought. Here we propose that the versatile reasoning skills observed in humans can be traced back to developmental and evolutionary changes in the lateral frontoparietal network (LFPN). We first identify the regions within the LFPN that are most strongly linked to relational thinking, and show that stronger communication between these regions over the course of development supports improvements in relational reasoning. We then explore differences in the LFPN between humans and other primate species that could explain species differences in the capacity for relational reasoning. We conclude that fairly small neuroanatomical changes in specific regions of the LFPN and their connections have led to big ontogenetic and phylogenetic changes in cognition.
Bonier, Frances; Martin, Paul R
An evolutionary perspective can enrich almost any endeavour in biology, providing a deeper understanding of the variation we see in nature. To this end, evolutionary endocrinologists seek to describe the fitness consequences of variation in endocrine traits. Much of the recent work in our field, however, follows a flawed approach to the study of how selection shapes endocrine traits. Briefly, this approach relies on among-individual correlations between endocrine phenotypes (often circulating hormone levels) and fitness metrics to estimate selection on those endocrine traits. Adaptive plasticity in both endocrine and fitness-related traits can drive these correlations, generating patterns that do not accurately reflect natural selection. We illustrate why this approach to studying selection on endocrine traits is problematic, referring to work from evolutionary biologists who, decades ago, described this problem as it relates to a variety of other plastic traits. We extend these arguments to evolutionary endocrinology, where the likelihood that this flaw generates bias in estimates of selection is unusually high due to the exceptional responsiveness of hormones to environmental conditions, and their function to induce adaptive life-history responses to environmental variation. We end with a review of productive approaches for investigating the fitness consequences of variation in endocrine traits that we expect will generate exciting advances in our understanding of endocrine system evolution.
An evolutionary perspective can enrich almost any endeavour in biology, providing a deeper understanding of the variation we see in nature. To this end, evolutionary endocrinologists seek to describe the fitness consequences of variation in endocrine traits. Much of the recent work in our field, however, follows a flawed approach to the study of how selection shapes endocrine traits. Briefly, this approach relies on among-individual correlations between endocrine phenotypes (often circulating hormone levels) and fitness metrics to estimate selection on those endocrine traits. Adaptive plasticity in both endocrine and fitness-related traits can drive these correlations, generating patterns that do not accurately reflect natural selection. We illustrate why this approach to studying selection on endocrine traits is problematic, referring to work from evolutionary biologists who, decades ago, described this problem as it relates to a variety of other plastic traits. We extend these arguments to evolutionary endocrinology, where the likelihood that this flaw generates bias in estimates of selection is unusually high due to the exceptional responsiveness of hormones to environmental conditions, and their function to induce adaptive life-history responses to environmental variation. We end with a review of productive approaches for investigating the fitness consequences of variation in endocrine traits that we expect will generate exciting advances in our understanding of endocrine system evolution. PMID:27881753
Yu, Jr-Kai Sky
The neural crest is an embryonic cell population unique to vertebrates. During vertebrate embryogenesis, neural crest cells are first induced from the neural plate border; subsequently, they delaminate from the dorsal neural tube and migrate to their destination, where they differentiate into a wide variety of derivatives. The emergence of the neural crest is thought to be responsible for the evolution of many complex novel structures of vertebrates that are lacking in invertebrate chordates. Despite its central importance in understanding the origin of vertebrates, the evolutionary origin of the neural crest remains elusive. The basal chordate amphioxus (Branchiostoma floridae) occupies an outgroup position that is useful for investigating this question. In this review, I summarize recent genomic and comparative developmental studies between amphioxus and vertebrates and discuss their implications for the evolutionary origin of neural crest cells. I focus mainly on the origin of the gene regulatory network underlying neural crest development, and suggest several hypotheses regarding how this network could have been assembled during early vertebrate evolution.
Huisken, Jan; Stainier, Didier Y. R.
Summary Selective plane illumination microscopy (SPIM) and other fluorescence microscopy techniques in which a focused sheet of light serves to illuminate the sample have become increasingly popular in developmental studies. Fluorescence light-sheet microscopy bridges the gap in image quality between fluorescence stereomicroscopy and high-resolution imaging of fixed tissue sections. In addition, high depth penetration, low bleaching and high acquisition speeds make light-sheet microscopy ideally suited for extended time-lapse experiments in live embryos. This review compares the benefits and challenges of light-sheet microscopy with established fluorescence microscopy techniques such as confocal microscopy and discusses the different implementations and applications of this easily adaptable technology. PMID:19465594
Bateson, Patrick; Gluckman, Peter; Hanson, Mark
Many forms of developmental plasticity have been observed and these are usually beneficial to the organism. The Predictive Adaptive Response (PAR) hypothesis refers to a form of developmental plasticity in which cues received in early life influence the development of a phenotype that is normally adapted to the environmental conditions of later life. When the predicted and actual environments differ, the mismatch between the individual's phenotype and the conditions in which it finds itself can have adverse consequences for Darwinian fitness and, later, for health. Numerous examples exist of the long-term effects of cues indicating a threatening environment affecting the subsequent phenotype of the individual organism. Other examples consist of the long-term effects of variations in environment within a normal range, particularly in the individual's nutritional environment. In mammals the cues to developing offspring are often provided by the mother's plane of nutrition, her body composition or stress levels. This hypothetical effect in humans is thought to be important by some scientists and controversial by others. In resolving the conflict, distinctions should be drawn between PARs induced by normative variations in the developmental environment and the ill effects on development of extremes in environment such as a very poor or very rich nutritional environment. Tests to distinguish between different developmental processes impacting on adult characteristics are proposed. Many of the mechanisms underlying developmental plasticity involve molecular epigenetic processes, and their elucidation in the context of PARs and more widely has implications for the revision of classical evolutionary theory.
Bateson, Patrick; Gluckman, Peter; Hanson, Mark
Many forms of developmental plasticity have been observed and these are usually beneficial to the organism. The Predictive Adaptive Response (PAR) hypothesis refers to a form of developmental plasticity in which cues received in early life influence the development of a phenotype that is normally adapted to the environmental conditions of later life. When the predicted and actual environments differ, the mismatch between the individual's phenotype and the conditions in which it finds itself can have adverse consequences for Darwinian fitness and, later, for health. Numerous examples exist of the long-term effects of cues indicating a threatening environment affecting the subsequent phenotype of the individual organism. Other examples consist of the long-term effects of variations in environment within a normal range, particularly in the individual's nutritional environment. In mammals the cues to developing offspring are often provided by the mother's plane of nutrition, her body composition or stress levels. This hypothetical effect in humans is thought to be important by some scientists and controversial by others. In resolving the conflict, distinctions should be drawn between PARs induced by normative variations in the developmental environment and the ill effects on development of extremes in environment such as a very poor or very rich nutritional environment. Tests to distinguish between different developmental processes impacting on adult characteristics are proposed. Many of the mechanisms underlying developmental plasticity involve molecular epigenetic processes, and their elucidation in the context of PARs and more widely has implications for the revision of classical evolutionary theory. PMID:24882817
Pirrello, Julien; Bourdon, Matthieu; Cheniclet, Catherine; Bourge, Mickaël; Brown, Spencer C; Renaudin, Jean-Pierre; Frangne, Nathalie; Chevalier, Christian
Fleshy fruit species such as tomato are important because of their nutritional and economic value. Several stages of fruit development such as ovary formation, fruit set, and fruit maturation have already been the subject of many developmental studies. However, fruit growth per se has been much less addressed. Fruit growth like all plant organs depends upon the developmental processes of cell division and cell expansion. The activity of cell divisions sets the number of cells that will compose the fruit; the cell expansion activity then determines its final size. Among the various mechanisms that may influence the determination of cell size, endopolyploidy by the means of endoreduplication, i.e. genome amplification in the absence of mitosis, appears to be of great importance in fleshy fruits. In tomato fruit, endoreduplication is associated with DNA-dependent cell expansion: cell size can reach spectacular levels such as hundreds of times its initial size (e.g. >0.5 mm in diameter), with as much as a 256-fold increase in nuclear DNA content. Using tomato fruit development as a model, recent investigations combining the use of flow cytometry, cellular imaging and molecular analyses have provided new data in favor of the long-standing karyoplasmic ratio theory, stating that cells tend to adjust their cytoplasmic volume to the nuclear DNA content. By establishing a highly structured cellular system where multiple physiological functions are integrated, endoreduplication acts as a morphogenetic factor supporting cell growth during tomato fruit development. In the context of plant breeding, deciphering the mechanisms controlling fruit growth, in particular those connecting the process of nuclear endoreduplication with modulation of gene expression, the regulation of cell size and final fruit size and composition, is necessary to understand better the establishment of fleshy fruit quality traits.
Fetterer, R H; Hill, D E; Urban, J F
The cuticles from distinct developmental stages of Ascaris suum were isolated by a combination of mechanical disruption and detergent treatment of larvae or by surgical removal of cuticle from adults. Proteins from the isolated cuticles were solubilized with SDS and 2-mercaptoethanol (2ME) and analyzed by PAGE. Cuticular proteins from the third and fourth larval stages (L3 and L4) were comparable to adult, but differences in the number of bands were observed. The soluble proteins from the adult, L3 and L4 were readily degraded by bacterial collagenase, suggesting that these proteins are collagen-like structural elements of the cuticle. The soluble proteins from the L2 differed from the adult and other larval stages in both the number and molecular weight of protein bands and their lack of collagenase sensitivity. Antibodies made against the soluble cuticular proteins reacted with the medial and basal layers of the cuticle but not the external cortical or epicuticular regions. A significant amount of the cuticle was not solubilized by 2ME and was not digested by bacterial collagenase. These insoluble cuticular proteins were probably derived from the epicuticular and external cortical regions of the cuticle. Different developmental stages of A. suum were biotinylated and examined by electron microscopy. An organic soluble biotin reagent labeled all stages in a transcuticular pattern, while an aqueous soluble biotin labeled only the external cortical and epicuticular regions of the L4 and adult cuticle. These data indicate the presence of a hydrophobic barrier in the cuticle of later stages of the parasite.
James, Jenee; Ellis, Bruce J.; Schlomer, Gabriel L.; Garber, Judy
The current study tested sex-specific pathways to early puberty, sexual debut, and sexual risk taking, as specified by an integrated evolutionary-developmental model of adolescent sexual development and behavior. In a prospective study of 238 adolescents (n = 129 girls and n = 109 boys) followed from approximately 12-18 years of age, we tested for…
Bass, Andrew H.; Chagnaud, Boris P.
Acoustic signaling behaviors are widespread among bony vertebrates, which include the majority of living fishes and tetrapods. Developmental studies in sound-producing fishes and tetrapods indicate that central pattern generating networks dedicated to vocalization originate from the same caudal hindbrain rhombomere (rh) 8-spinal compartment. Together, the evidence suggests that vocalization and its morphophysiological basis, including mechanisms of vocal–respiratory coupling that are widespread among tetrapods, are ancestral characters for bony vertebrates. Premotor-motor circuitry for pectoral appendages that function in locomotion and acoustic signaling develops in the same rh8-spinal compartment. Hence, vocal and pectoral phenotypes in fishes share both developmental origins and roles in acoustic communication. These findings lead to the proposal that the coupling of more highly derived vocal and pectoral mechanisms among tetrapods, including those adapted for nonvocal acoustic and gestural signaling, originated in fishes. Comparative studies further show that rh8 premotor populations have distinct neurophysiological properties coding for equally distinct behavioral attributes such as call duration. We conclude that neural network innovations in the spatiotemporal patterning of vocal and pectoral mechanisms of social communication, including forelimb gestural signaling, have their evolutionary origins in the caudal hindbrain of fishes. PMID:22723366
Bass, Andrew H; Chagnaud, Boris P
Acoustic signaling behaviors are widespread among bony vertebrates, which include the majority of living fishes and tetrapods. Developmental studies in sound-producing fishes and tetrapods indicate that central pattern generating networks dedicated to vocalization originate from the same caudal hindbrain rhombomere (rh) 8-spinal compartment. Together, the evidence suggests that vocalization and its morphophysiological basis, including mechanisms of vocal-respiratory coupling that are widespread among tetrapods, are ancestral characters for bony vertebrates. Premotor-motor circuitry for pectoral appendages that function in locomotion and acoustic signaling develops in the same rh8-spinal compartment. Hence, vocal and pectoral phenotypes in fishes share both developmental origins and roles in acoustic communication. These findings lead to the proposal that the coupling of more highly derived vocal and pectoral mechanisms among tetrapods, including those adapted for nonvocal acoustic and gestural signaling, originated in fishes. Comparative studies further show that rh8 premotor populations have distinct neurophysiological properties coding for equally distinct behavioral attributes such as call duration. We conclude that neural network innovations in the spatiotemporal patterning of vocal and pectoral mechanisms of social communication, including forelimb gestural signaling, have their evolutionary origins in the caudal hindbrain of fishes.
The modern synthesis has been considered to be wrongly called a "synthesis", since it had completely excluded embryology, and many other disciplines. The recent developments of Evo-Devo have been seen as a step in the right direction, as complementing the modern synthesis, and probably leading to a "new synthesis". My argument is that the absence of embryology from the modern synthesis was the visible sign of a more profound lack: the absence of functional biology in the evolutionary synthesis. I will consider the reasons for this absence, as well as the recent transformations which favoured a closer interaction between these two branches of biology. Then I will describe two examples of recent work in which functional and evolutionary questioning were tightly linked. The most significant part of the paper will be devoted to the transformation of evolutionary theory that can be expected from this encounter: a deep transformation, or simply an experimental confirmation of this theory? I will not choose between these two different possibilities, but will discuss some of the difficulties which make the choice problematic.
Klymkowsky, Michael W.; Rentsch, Jeremy D.; Begovic, Emina; Cooper, Melanie M.
Many introductory biology courses amount to superficial surveys of disconnected topics. Often, foundational observations and the concepts derived from them and students’ ability to use these ideas appropriately are overlooked, leading to unrealistic expectations and unrecognized learning obstacles. The result can be a focus on memorization at the expense of the development of a meaningful framework within which to consider biological phenomena. About a decade ago, we began a reconsideration of what an introductory course should present to students and the skills they need to master. The original Web-based course’s design presaged many of the recommendations of the Vision and Change report; in particular, a focus on social evolutionary mechanisms, stochastic (evolutionary and molecular) processes, and core ideas (cellular continuity, evolutionary homology, molecular interactions, coupled chemical reactions, and molecular machines). Inspired by insights from the Chemistry, Life, the Universe & Everything general chemistry project, we transformed the original Web version into a (freely available) book with a more unified narrative flow and a set of formative assessments delivered through the beSocratic system. We outline how student responses to course materials are guiding future course modifications, in particular a more concerted effort at helping students to construct logical, empirically based arguments, explanations, and models. PMID:27909020
Klymkowsky, Michael W; Rentsch, Jeremy D; Begovic, Emina; Cooper, Melanie M
Many introductory biology courses amount to superficial surveys of disconnected topics. Often, foundational observations and the concepts derived from them and students' ability to use these ideas appropriately are overlooked, leading to unrealistic expectations and unrecognized learning obstacles. The result can be a focus on memorization at the expense of the development of a meaningful framework within which to consider biological phenomena. About a decade ago, we began a reconsideration of what an introductory course should present to students and the skills they need to master. The original Web-based course's design presaged many of the recommendations of the Vision and Change report; in particular, a focus on social evolutionary mechanisms, stochastic (evolutionary and molecular) processes, and core ideas (cellular continuity, evolutionary homology, molecular interactions, coupled chemical reactions, and molecular machines). Inspired by insights from the Chemistry, Life, the Universe & Everything general chemistry project, we transformed the original Web version into a (freely available) book with a more unified narrative flow and a set of formative assessments delivered through the beSocratic system. We outline how student responses to course materials are guiding future course modifications, in particular a more concerted effort at helping students to construct logical, empirically based arguments, explanations, and models.
Vianello, Angelo; Passamonti, Sabina
Functional biologists, like Claude Bernard, ask "How?", meaning that they investigate the mechanisms underlying the emergence of biological functions (proximal causes), while evolutionary biologists, like Charles Darwin, asks "Why?", meaning that they search the causes of adaptation, survival and evolution (remote causes). Are these divergent views on what is life? The epistemological role of functional biology (molecular biology, but also biochemistry, physiology, cell biology and so forth) appears essential, for its capacity to identify several mechanisms of natural selection of new characters, individuals and populations. Nevertheless, several issues remain unsolved, such as orphan metabolic activities, i.e., adaptive functions still missing the identification of the underlying genes and proteins, and orphan genes, i.e., genes that bear no signature of evolutionary history, yet provide an organism with improved adaptation to environmental changes. In the framework of the Extended Synthesis, we suggest that the adaptive roles of any known function/structure are reappraised in terms of their capacity to warrant constancy of the internal environment (homeostasis), a concept that encompasses both proximal and remote causes.
Keil, Frank C.
The assumption of domain specificity has been invaluable to the study of the emergence of biological thought in young children. Yet, domains of thought must be understood within a broader context that explains how those domains relate to the surrounding cultures, to different kinds of cognitive constraints, to framing effects, to abilities to…
Erwin, D. H.
A critical issue in understanding the patterns of morphological and developmental evolution during the Cambrian radiation of animal body plans is the morphological complexity of the last common ancestor of the two great bilaterian clades, the protostomes and deuterostomes. Often known as the Urbilateria or the protostome-deuterostome ancestor (PDA) this node in metazoan phylogeny distinguishes the sponges and cnidarians from the bilaterian clades. Highly conserved developmental genes and complexes suggests that the PDA was a relatively complex organism, with dorsal-ventral and anterior-posterior patterning, eyes, appendages, heart, central nervous system, segmentation and other relatively complex morphological features. If this view of the PDA is correct, it has important implications for understanding the Cambrian radiation, for such a complex animal is likely to leave traces in the sedimentary record even if it lacked a durable skeleton. However, this interpretation of conserved developmental sequences may overestimate the extent to which homologies of developmental sequences implies morphological conservation. In other words, does the presence of the Nkx 2.5 gene in the PDA necessitate the presence of a heart, or simple the appearance of contractile muscles? If the latter, then the PDA may have been a much less complex organism. This latter view of developmental evolution suggests the PDA possessed a developmental toolkit, but that the specific implementation of these tools in specific body plans occurred after the PDA, within specific clades. Moreover, this view also strongly suggests that changes in the physical environment, or in ecological relationships, was primarily responsible for the evolutionary innovations seen in the Cambrian, rather than developmental innovations.
Nagasawa, Tatsuki; Kawaguchi, Mari; Yano, Tohru; Sano, Kaori; Okabe, Masataka; Yasumasu, Shigeki
Hatching gland cells (HGCs) originate from different germ layers between frogs and teleosts, although the hatching enzyme genes are orthologous. Teleostei HGCs differentiate in the mesoendodermal cells at the anterior end of the involved hypoblast layer (known as the polster) in late gastrula embryos. Conversely, frog HGCs differentiate in the epidermal cells at the neural plate border in early neurula embryos. To infer the transition in the developmental origin of HGCs, we studied two basal ray-finned fishes, bichir (Polypterus) and sturgeon. We observed expression patterns of their hatching enzyme (HE) and that of three transcription factors that are critical for HGC differentiation: KLF17 is common to both teleosts and frogs; whereas FoxA3 and Pax3 are specific to teleosts and frogs, respectively. We then inferred the transition in the developmental origin of HGCs. In sturgeon, the KLF17, FoxA3, and HE genes were expressed during the tailbud stage in the cell mass at the anterior region of the body axis, a region corresponding to the polster in teleost embryos. In contrast, the bichir was suggested to possess both teleost- and amphibian-type HGCs, i.e. the KLF17 and FoxA3 genes were expressed in the anterior cell mass corresponding to the polster, and the KLF17, Pax3 and HE genes were expressed in dorsal epidermal layer of the head. The change in developmental origin is thought to have occurred during the evolution of basal ray-finned fish, because bichir has two HGCs, while sturgeon only has the teleost-type.
Keefe, J. R.
Development is considered to encompass all aspects of the mammalian life span from initial initial germ cell production through the complete life cycle to death of the organism. Thus, gamete production, fertilization, embryogenesis, implantation, fetogenesis, birth, peri- and postnatal maturation, and aging were all considered as stages of a development continuum relevant to problems of Space Biology. Deliberations thus far have been limited to stages of the development cycle from fertilization to early postnatal life. The deliberations are detailed.
Müller, W. A.
The concept of "differentiation" encompasses all processes leading to differently specialized cell types, beginning with the progressive divergence of developmental pathways and ending with the successive programming and final elaboration of each particular cell type. Guidance and positional information are provided by external cues, by differentially allotted cytoplasmic determinants such as mRNA for transcription factors, and by cascades of intercellular signals. Eventually cell type specific selector genes, such as the muscle cell determining MyoD/myogenin genes and neural key genes (e.g., achaete scute-C, neurogenin), are switched on which control entire sets of subordinate effector genes. In multiplying cells "cell heredity" based on an epigenetic cellular memory enables transmission of the cell type determining program from parental to daughter cells. This memory can be based on autocatalytic self-activation of cell type specific selector genes and on the enduring action of gene groups such as the Polycomb and thrithorax complexes that code for proteins which bind to DNA sequences called cellular memory modules. These modules confer permanent accessibility (potentiation) or inaccessibility (silencing) upon many different gene loci on the chromosomes.
Pennington, Bruce F.; Snyder, Kelly A.; Roberts, Ralph J., Jr.
This commentary explains how the field of developmental cognitive neuroscience (DCN) holds the promise of a much wider interdisciplinary integration across sciences concerned with development: psychology, molecular genetics, neurobiology, and evolutionary developmental biology. First we present a brief history of DCN, including the key theoretical…
Evaluation of biologically based dose-response modeling for developmental toxicity: a workshop report.
Lau C, Andersen ME, Crawford-Brown DJ, Kavlock RJ, Kimmel CA, Knudsen TB, Muneoka K, Rogers JM, Setzer RW, Smith G, Tyl R.
Reproductive Toxicology Division, NHEERL...
Supernumerary or accessory ribs (SNR), either lumbar (LSNR) or cervical (CSNR) are a common finding in standard developmental toxicology bioassays. The biological significance of these anomalies within the regulatory arena has been problematic and the subject of some...
Farrar, M. Jeffrey; Boyer-Pennington, Michelle
We examined developmental changes in children's inductive inferences about biological concepts as a function of knowledge of properties and concepts. Specifically, 4- to 5-year-olds and 9- to 10-year-olds were taught either familiar or unfamiliar internal, external, or functional properties about known and unknown target animals. Children were…
Evolution of unusual morphologies in Lentibulariaceae (bladderworts and allies) and Podostemaceae (river-weeds): a pictorial report at the interface of developmental biology and morphological diversification
Background Various groups of flowering plants reveal profound (‘saltational’) changes of their bauplans (architectural rules) as compared with related taxa. These plants are known as morphological misfits that appear as rather large morphological deviations from the norm. Some of them emerged as morphological key innovations (perhaps ‘hopeful monsters’) that gave rise to new evolutionary lines of organisms, based on (major) genetic changes. Scope This pictorial report places emphasis on released bauplans as typical for bladderworts (Utricularia, approx. 230 secies, Lentibulariaceae) and river-weeds (Podostemaceae, three subfamilies, approx. 54 genera, approx. 310 species). Bladderworts (Utricularia) are carnivorous, possessing sucking traps. They live as submerged aquatics (except for their flowers), as humid terrestrials or as epiphytes. Most Podostemaceae are restricted to rocks in tropical river-rapids and waterfalls. They survive as submerged haptophytes in these extreme habitats during the rainy season, emerging with their flowers afterwards. The recent scientific progress in developmental biology and evolutionary history of both Lentibulariaceae and Podostemaceae is summarized. Conclusions Lentibulariaceae and Podostemaceae follow structural rules that are different from but related to those of more typical flowering plants. The roots, stems and leaves – as still distinguishable in related flowering plants – are blurred (‘fuzzy’). However, both families have stable floral bauplans. The developmental switches to unusual vegetative morphologies facilitated rather than prevented the evolution of species diversity in both families. The lack of one-to-one correspondence between structural categories and gene expression may have arisen from the re-use of existing genetic resources in novel contexts. Understanding what developmental patterns are followed in Lentibulariaceae and Podostemaceae is a necessary prerequisite to discover the genetic
Yi, B. Alexander; Wernet, Oliver; Chien, Kenneth R.
The ability to create new functional cardiomyocytes is the holy grail of cardiac regenerative medicine. From studies using model organisms, new insights into the fundamental pathways that drive heart muscle regeneration have begun to arise as well as a growing knowledge of the distinct families of multipotent cardiovascular progenitors that generate diverse lineages during heart development. In this Review, we highlight this intersection of the “pregenerative” biology of heart progenitor cells and heart regeneration and discuss the longer term challenges and opportunities in moving toward a therapeutic goal of regenerative cardiovascular medicine. PMID:20051633
Villiger, Martin L.; Beleut, Manfred; Brisken, Cathrin; Lasser, Theo; Leitgeb, Rainer A.
We present a novel detection scheme for Fourier domain optical coherence microscopy (FDOCM). A Bessel-like interference pattern with a strong central lobe was created with an axicon lens. This pattern was then imaged by a telescopic system into the sample space to obtain a laterally highly confined illumination needle, extending over a long axial range. For increased efficiency, the detection occurs decoupled from the illumination, avoiding a double pass through the axicon. Nearly constant transverse resolution of ~1.5μm along a focal range of 200μm with a maximum sensitivity of 105dB was obtained. A broad bandwidth Ti:Sapphire laser allowed for an axial resolution of 3μm in air, providing the nearly isotropic resolution necessary to access the microstructure of biological tissues. Together with the speed- and sensitivity-advantage of FDOCT, this system can perform in vivo measurements in a minimally invasive way. Tomograms of the mouse mammary gland and the mouse follicle, recorded in vitro, revealed biologically relevant structural details. Images acquired with classical microscopy techniques, involving stained and fluorescent samples, validate these structures and emphasize the high contrast of the tomograms. It is comparable to the contrast achieved with classical techniques, but employing neither staining, labeling nor slicing of the samples, stressing the high potential of FDOCM for minimally invasive in vivo small animal imaging.
This article provides an overview of research on chromatin diminution (CD) in copepods. The phenomenology, mechanisms and biological role of CD are discussed. A model of CD as an alternative means of regulating cell differentiation is presented. While the vast majority of eukaryotes inactivate genes that are no longer needed in development by heterochromatinization, copepods probably use CD for the same purpose. It is assumed that the copepods have exploited CD as a tool for adaptation to changing environmental conditions and as a mechanism for regulating the rate of evolutionary processes.
Background Molecular genetic studies of floral development have concentrated on several core eudicots and grasses (monocots), which have canalized floral forms. Basal eudicots possess a wider range of floral morphologies than the core eudicots and grasses and can serve as an evolutionary link between core eudicots and monocots, and provide a reference for studies of other basal angiosperms. Recent advances in genomics have enabled researchers to profile gene activities during floral development, primarily in the eudicot Arabidopsis thaliana and the monocots rice and maize. However, our understanding of floral developmental processes among the basal eudicots remains limited. Results Using a recently generated expressed sequence tag (EST) set, we have designed an oligonucleotide microarray for the basal eudicot Eschscholzia californica (California poppy). We performed microarray experiments with an interwoven-loop design in order to characterize the E. californica floral transcriptome and to identify differentially expressed genes in flower buds with pre-meiotic and meiotic cells, four floral organs at pre-anthesis stages (sepals, petals, stamens and carpels), developing fruits, and leaves. Conclusions Our results provide a foundation for comparative gene expression studies between eudicots and basal angiosperms. We identified whorl-specific gene expression patterns in E. californica and examined the floral expression of several gene families. Interestingly, most E. californica homologs of Arabidopsis genes important for flower development, except for genes encoding MADS-box transcription factors, show different expression patterns between the two species. Our comparative transcriptomics study highlights the unique evolutionary position of E. californica compared with basal angiosperms and core eudicots. PMID:20950453
Takashima, Shigeo; Gold, David; Hartenstein, Volker
The intestine consists of epithelial cells that secrete digestive enzymes and mucus (gland cells), absorb food particles (enterocytes), and produce hormones (endocrine cells). Intestinal cells are rapidly turned over and need to be replaced. In cnidarians, mitosis of differentiated intestinal cells accounts for much of the replacement; in addition, migratory, multipotent stem cells (interstitial cells) contribute to the production of intestinal cells. In other phyla, intestinal cell replacement is solely the function of stem cells entering the gut from the outside (such as in case of the neoblasts of platyhelmints) or intestinal stem cells located within the midgut epithelium (as in both vertebrates or arthropods). We will attempt in the following to review important aspects of midgut stem cells in different animal groups: where are they located, what types of lineages do they produce, and how do they develop. We will start out with a comparative survey of midgut cell types found across the animal kingdom; then briefly look at the specification of these cells during embryonic development; and finally focus on the stem cells that regenerate midgut cells during adult life. In a number of model systems, including mouse, zebrafish and Drosophila, the molecular pathways controlling ISC proliferation and the specification of intestinal cell types are under intensive investigation. We will highlight findings of the recent literature, focusing on aspects that are shared between the different models and that point at evolutionary ancient mechanisms of intestinal cell formation. PMID:23179635
Page, L. R.
Evolutionary changes in the development of shell-attached retractor muscles in gastropods are of fundamental importance to theories about the early evolution and subsequent diversification of this molluscan class. Development of the shell-attached retractor muscle (columellar muscle) in a caenogastropod has been studied at the ultrastructural level to test the hypothesis of homology with the post-torsional left retractor muscle (larval velar retractor) in vetigastropod larvae. The vetigastropod muscle has been implicated in the generation of ontogenetic torsion, a morphogenetic twist between body regions that is important to theories about early gastropod evolution. Two shell-attached retractor muscles develop sequentially in the caenogastropod, Polinices lewisii, which is a pattern that has been also identified in previous ultrastructural studies on a vetigastropod and several nudibranch gastropods. The pattern may be a basal and conserved characteristic of gastropods. I found that the first-formed retractor in larvae of P. lewisii is comparable to the larval velar retractor that exists at the time of ontogenetic torsion in the vetigastropod, Haliotis kamtschatkana. However, the post-metamorphic columellar muscle of P. lewisii is derived exclusively from part of the second-formed muscle, which is comparable to the second-formed pedal muscle system in the vetigastropod. I conclude that the post-metamorphic columellar muscle of P. lewisii, is not homologous to the larval velar retractor of the vetigastropod, H. kamtschatkana.
Moosmann, Julian; Altapova, Venera; Haenschke, Daniel; Hofmann, Ralf; Baumbach, Tilo
For coherent X-ray imaging, based on phase contrast through free-space Fresnel propagation, we discuss two noniterative, nonlinear approaches to the phase-retrieval problem from a single-distance intensity map of a pure-phase object. On one hand, a perturbative set-up is proposed where nonlinear corrections to the linearized transport-of-intensity situation are expanded in powers of the object-detector distance z and are evaluated in terms of the linear estimate. On the other hand, a nonperturbative projection algorithm, which is based on the (linear and local) contrast-transfer function (CTF), works with an effective phase in Fourier space. This effective phase obeys a modified CTF relation between intensity contrast at z > 0 and phase contrast at z= 0: Unphysical singularities of the local CTF model are cut off to yield 'quasiparticles' in analogy to the theory of the Fermi liquid. By identifying the positions of the zeros of the Fourier transformed intensity contrast as order parameters for the dynamical breaking of scaling symmetry we investigate the phase structure of the forward-propagation problem when interpreted as a statistical system. Results justify the quasiparticle approach for a wide range of intermediary phase variations. The latter algorithm is applied to data from biological samples recorded at the beamlines TopoTomo and ID19 at ANKA and ESRF, respectively.
Ma, Zhanshan (Sam)
In evolutionary computing (EC), population size is one of the critical parameters that a researcher has to deal with. Hence, it was no surprise that the pioneers of EC, such as De Jong (1975) and Holland (1975), had already studied the population sizing from the very beginning of EC. What is perhaps surprising is that more than three decades later, we still largely depend on the experience or ad-hoc trial-and-error approach to set the population size. For example, in a recent monograph, Eiben and Smith (2003) indicated: "In almost all EC applications, the population size is constant and does not change during the evolutionary search." Despite enormous research on this issue in recent years, we still lack a well accepted theory for population sizing. In this paper, I propose to develop a population dynamics theory forEC with the inspiration from the population dynamics theory of biological populations in nature. Essentially, the EC population is considered as a dynamic system over time (generations) and space (search space or fitness landscape), similar to the spatial and temporal dynamics of biological populations in nature. With this conceptual mapping, I propose to 'transplant' the biological population dynamics theory to EC via three steps: (i) experimentally test the feasibility—whether or not emulating natural population dynamics improves the EC performance; (ii) comparatively study the underlying mechanisms—why there are improvements, primarily via statistical modeling analysis; (iii) conduct theoretical analysis with theoretical models such as percolation theory and extended evolutionary game theory that are generally applicable to both EC and natural populations. This article is a summary of a series of studies we have performed to achieve the general goal -. In the following, I start with an extremely brief introduction on the theory and models of natural population dynamics (Sections 1 & 2). In Sections 4 to 6, I briefly discuss three
Guillemaud, Thomas; Ciosi, Marc; Lombaert, Eric; Estoup, Arnaud
Invasion biology and agriculture are intimately related for several reasons and in particular because many agricultural pest species are recent invaders. In this article we suggest that the reconstruction of invasion routes with population genetics-based methods can address fundamental questions in ecology and practical aspects of the management of biological invasions in agricultural settings. We provide a brief description of the methods used to reconstruct invasion routes and describe their main characteristics. In particular, we focus on a scenario--the bridgehead invasion scenario --which had been overlooked until recently. We show that this scenario, in which an invasive population is the source of other invasive populations, is evolutionarily parsimonious and may have played a crucial role in shaping the distribution of many recent agricultural pests.
Zhang, Shi-Jian; Liu, Chu-Jun; Yu, Peng; Zhong, Xiaoming; Chen, Jia-Yu; Yang, Xinzhuang; Peng, Jiguang; Yan, Shouyu; Wang, Chenqu; Zhu, Xiaotong; Xiong, Jingwei; Zhang, Yong E.; Tan, Bertrand Chin-Ming; Li, Chuan-Yun
With genome sequence and composition highly analogous to human, rhesus macaque represents a unique reference for evolutionary studies of human biology. Here, we developed a comprehensive genomic framework of rhesus macaque, the RhesusBase2, for evolutionary interrogation of human genes and the associated regulations. A total of 1,667 next-generation sequencing (NGS) data sets were processed, integrated, and evaluated, generating 51.2 million new functional annotation records. With extensive NGS annotations, RhesusBase2 refined the fine-scale structures in 30% of the macaque Ensembl transcripts, reporting an accurate, up-to-date set of macaque gene models. On the basis of these annotations and accurate macaque gene models, we further developed an NGS-oriented Molecular Evolution Gateway to access and visualize macaque annotations in reference to human orthologous genes and associated regulations (www.rhesusbase.org/molEvo). We highlighted the application of this well-annotated genomic framework in generating hypothetical link of human-biased regulations to human-specific traits, by using mechanistic characterization of the DIEXF gene as an example that provides novel clues to the understanding of digestive system reduction in human evolution. On a global scale, we also identified a catalog of 9,295 human-biased regulatory events, which may represent novel elements that have a substantial impact on shaping human transcriptome and possibly underpin recent human phenotypic evolution. Taken together, we provide an NGS data-driven, information-rich framework that will broadly benefit genomics research in general and serves as an important resource for in-depth evolutionary studies of human biology. PMID:24577841
Zhang, Shi-Jian; Liu, Chu-Jun; Yu, Peng; Zhong, Xiaoming; Chen, Jia-Yu; Yang, Xinzhuang; Peng, Jiguang; Yan, Shouyu; Wang, Chenqu; Zhu, Xiaotong; Xiong, Jingwei; Zhang, Yong E; Tan, Bertrand Chin-Ming; Li, Chuan-Yun
With genome sequence and composition highly analogous to human, rhesus macaque represents a unique reference for evolutionary studies of human biology. Here, we developed a comprehensive genomic framework of rhesus macaque, the RhesusBase2, for evolutionary interrogation of human genes and the associated regulations. A total of 1,667 next-generation sequencing (NGS) data sets were processed, integrated, and evaluated, generating 51.2 million new functional annotation records. With extensive NGS annotations, RhesusBase2 refined the fine-scale structures in 30% of the macaque Ensembl transcripts, reporting an accurate, up-to-date set of macaque gene models. On the basis of these annotations and accurate macaque gene models, we further developed an NGS-oriented Molecular Evolution Gateway to access and visualize macaque annotations in reference to human orthologous genes and associated regulations (www.rhesusbase.org/molEvo). We highlighted the application of this well-annotated genomic framework in generating hypothetical link of human-biased regulations to human-specific traits, by using mechanistic characterization of the DIEXF gene as an example that provides novel clues to the understanding of digestive system reduction in human evolution. On a global scale, we also identified a catalog of 9,295 human-biased regulatory events, which may represent novel elements that have a substantial impact on shaping human transcriptome and possibly underpin recent human phenotypic evolution. Taken together, we provide an NGS data-driven, information-rich framework that will broadly benefit genomics research in general and serves as an important resource for in-depth evolutionary studies of human biology.
Hanrahan, C J; Palladino, M J; Ganetzky, B; Reenan, R A
Post-transcriptional editing of pre-mRNAs through the action of dsRNA adenosine deaminases results in the modification of particular adenosine (A) residues to inosine (I), which can alter the coding potential of the modified transcripts. We describe here three sites in the para transcript, which encodes the major voltage-activated Na(+) channel polypeptide in Drosophila, where RNA editing occurs. The occurrence of RNA editing at the three sites was found to be developmentally regulated. Editing at two of these sites was also conserved across species between the D. melanogaster and D. virilis. In each case, a highly conserved region was found in the intron downstream of the editing site and this region was shown to be complementary to the region of the exonic editing site. Thus, editing at these sites would appear to involve a mechanism whereby the edited exon forms a base-paired secondary structure with the distant conserved noncoding sequences located in adjacent downstream introns, similar to the mechanism shown for A-to-I RNA editing of mammalian glutamate receptor subunits (GluRs). For the third site, neither RNA editing nor the predicted RNA secondary structures were evolutionarily conserved. Transcripts from transgenic Drosophila expressing a minimal editing site construct for this site were shown to faithfully undergo RNA editing. These results demonstrate that Na(+) channel diversity in Drosophila is increased by RNA editing via a mechanism analogous to that described for transcripts encoding mammalian GluRs. PMID:10880477
Deniz, Hasan; Donnelly, Lisa A.; Yilmaz, Irfan
In this study, using multiple regression analysis, we aimed to explore the factors related to acceptance of evolutionary theory among preservice Turkish biology teachers using conceptual ecology for biological evolution as a theoretical lens. We aimed to determine the extent to which we can account for the variance in acceptance of evolutionary…
Schroeder, Diane I; Jayashankar, Kartika; Douglas, Kory C; Thirkill, Twanda L; York, Daniel; Dickinson, Pete J; Williams, Lawrence E; Samollow, Paul B; Ross, Pablo J; Bannasch, Danika L; Douglas, Gordon C; LaSalle, Janine M
Over the last 20-80 million years the mammalian placenta has taken on a variety of morphologies through both divergent and convergent evolution. Recently we have shown that the human placenta genome has a unique epigenetic pattern of large partially methylated domains (PMDs) and highly methylated domains (HMDs) with gene body DNA methylation positively correlating with level of gene expression. In order to determine the evolutionary conservation of DNA methylation patterns and transcriptional regulatory programs in the placenta, we performed a genome-wide methylome (MethylC-seq) analysis of human, rhesus macaque, squirrel monkey, mouse, dog, horse, and cow placentas as well as opossum extraembryonic membrane. We found that, similar to human placenta, mammalian placentas and opossum extraembryonic membrane have globally lower levels of methylation compared to somatic tissues. Higher relative gene body methylation was the conserved feature across all mammalian placentas, despite differences in PMD/HMDs and absolute methylation levels. Specifically, higher methylation over the bodies of genes involved in mitosis, vesicle-mediated transport, protein phosphorylation, and chromatin modification was observed compared with the rest of the genome. As in human placenta, higher methylation is associated with higher gene expression and is predictive of genic location across species. Analysis of DNA methylation in oocytes and preimplantation embryos shows a conserved pattern of gene body methylation similar to the placenta. Intriguingly, mouse and cow oocytes and mouse early embryos have PMD/HMDs but their placentas do not, suggesting that PMD/HMDs are a feature of early preimplantation methylation patterns that become lost during placental development in some species and following implantation of the embryo.
Cable, J; Harris, P D
In the viviparous gyrodactylids, embryos develop one inside another within the parental uterus, a phenomenon with major implications for the biology of this species-rich group. Development occurs via two routes: first-born daughters develop at the centre of an embryo cluster in utero, whereas all other daughters develop from oocytes. The resulting offspring are, however, morphologically indistinguishable. We review here the history of gyrodactylid embryology in the context of current knowledge and, present additional cytogenetic and ultrastructural observations of embryonic development. These progenetic parasites are highly modified for viviparity; oocyte maturation and sperm storage occur in a single chamber, the Egg Cell Forming Region, and a mature oocyte passes into the uterus after the birth of the preceding, fully developed offspring. The uterus has a syncytial lining derived from anterior and posterior cap cells. These cells are the first to differentiate in the female reproductive system and may be involved in controlling development. Embryos receive nutrients via the uterus rather than from vitelline cells. Traditionally, development of the first-born daughter has been considered a form of polyembryony, although paedogenesis has also been suggested. In contrast to previous studies, we could not trace lineage of the first-born daughter to a single quiescent macromere. However, only mitotic divisions have been conclusively observed in the intraembryonic generation, indicating an asexual origin. All other daughters are formed from meiotically derived oocytes by sexual reproduction or automictic parthenogenesis. The latter may involve pre-meiotic doubling of chromosomes, but the precise mechanism and the relative proportion of sexual and parthenogenetic offspring are unknown. Exceptionally, cleavage in Gyrodactylus spp. occurs by duets rather than quartets (a pattern previously only recorded in acoels) and is characterised by extensive cell rearrangements
Developmental theories can be affirmed, challenged, and augmented by incorporating knowledge about atypical ontogenesis. Investigations of the biological, socioemotional, and personality development in individuals with high-risk conditions and psychopathological disorders can provide an entrée into the study of system organization, disorganization, and reorganization. This article examines child maltreatment to illustrate the benefit that can be derived from the study of individuals subjected to nonnormative caregiving experiences. Relative to an average expectable environment, which consists of a species-specific range of environmental conditions that support adaptive development among genetically normal individuals, maltreating families fail to provide many of the experiences that are required for normal development. Principles gleaned from the field of developmental psychopathology provide a framework for understanding multilevel functioning in normality and pathology. Knowledge of normative developmental processes provides the impetus to design and implement randomized control trial (RCT) interventions that can promote resilient functioning in maltreated children.
Coley, John D; Arenson, Melanie; Xu, Yian; Tanner, Kimberly D
A large body of cognitive research has shown that people intuitively and effortlessly reason about the biological world in complex and systematic ways. We addressed two questions about the nature of intuitive biological reasoning: How does intuitive biological thinking change during adolescence and early adulthood? How does increasing biology education influence intuitive biological thinking? To do so, we developed a battery of measures to systematically test three components of intuitive biological thought: anthropocentric thinking, teleological thinking and essentialist thinking, and tested 8th graders and university students (both biology majors, and non-biology majors). Results reveal clear evidence of persistent intuitive reasoning among all populations studied, consistent but surprisingly small differences between 8th graders and college students on measures of intuitive biological thought, and consistent but again surprisingly small influence of increasing biology education on intuitive biological reasoning. Results speak to the persistence of intuitive reasoning, the importance of taking intuitive knowledge into account in science classrooms, and the necessity of interdisciplinary research to advance biology education. Further studies are necessary to investigate how cultural context and continued acquisition of expertise impact intuitive biology thinking.
Mignouna, Hodeba D; Abang, Mathew M; Asiedu, Robert; Geeta, R
Dioscorea (true yams) is a large genus that contains species important as food (with edible tubers) or as sources of bioactive substances used in a range of applications. Dioscorea is a major staple food in many parts of the world, especially in West Africa and the Pacific islands, and serves as a famine food in many regions. It is a critically important but neglected crop, which is likely to increase in importance as climate change leads to necessary changes in global food systems. It is a herbaceous, climbing, tropical monocot that looks rather like a dicot, and is part of a lineage that is relatively closely related to the phylogenetically derived group containing the grasses. Therefore, it represents an important biological link between the eudicots and grasses--groups that contain all the model flowering plant species--and has the potential to fill gaps in our knowledge of plant biology and evolution. Yams also offer us the possibility to gain new insights into processes such as tuberization and sex determination, which cannot be studied in current model organisms. This combination of rising importance due to its socioeconomic significance and interesting biology and evolutionary position justify its potential as a model organism. This potential remains to be harnessed, and much of the current work on yam is directed toward its role as a food crop. This aspect will remain important, but its potential for answering questions of basic biological interest will be a major motivation for researchers interested in this organism.
Unravelling the evolutionary and developmental mechanisms that have impacted the mammalian dentition, since more than 200 Ma, is an intricate issue. Interestingly, a few mammal species, including the silvery mole-rat Heliophobius argenteocinereus, are able to replace their dentition by the addition of supernumerary molars at the back of jaw migrating then toward the front. The aim here was to demonstrate the potential interest of further studying this rodent in order to better understand the origins of continuous dental replacement in mammals, which could also provide interesting data concerning the evolution of limited dental generation occurring in first mammals. In the present study, we described the main stages of the dental eruptive sequence in the silvery mole-rat and the associated characteristics of horizontal replacement using X-ray microtomography. This was coupled to the investigation of other African mole-rats which have no dental replacement. This method permitted to establish evidence that the initial development of the dentition in Heliophobius is comparable to what it is observed in most of African mole-rats. This rodent first has premolars, but then identical additional molars, a mechanism convergent to manatees and the pygmy rock-wallaby. Evidence of continuous replacement and strong dental dynamics were also illustrated in Heliophobius, and stressed the need to deeply investigate these aspects for evolutionary, functional and developmental purposes. We also noticed that two groups of extinct non-mammalian synapsids convergently acquired this dental mechanism, but in a way differing from extant mammals. The discussion on the diverse evolutionary origins of horizontal dental replacement put emphasis on the necessity of focusing on biological parameters potentially involved in both continuous and limited developments of teeth in mammals. In that context, the silvery mole-rat could appear as the most appropriate candidate to do so. PMID:26401449
Maan, Martine E.; Sefc, Kristina M.
Cichlid fishes constitute one of the most species-rich families of vertebrates. In addition to complex social behaviour and morphological versatility, they are characterised by extensive diversity in colouration, both within and between species. Here, we review the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying colour variation in this group and the selective pressures responsible for the observed variation. We specifically address the evidence for the hypothesis that divergence in colouration is associated with the evolution of reproductive isolation between lineages. While we conclude that cichlid colours are excellent models for understanding the role of animal communication in species divergence, we also identify taxonomic and methodological biases in the current research effort. We suggest that the integration of genomic approaches with ecological and behavioural studies, across the entire cichlid family and beyond it, will contribute to the utility of the cichlid model system for understanding the evolution of biological diversity. PMID:23665150
Del Giudice, Marco
Previous research on 'denied pregnancy', i.e. lack of subjective awareness of pregnancy until the end of gestation in pregnant women, is reviewed and reinterpreted in an evolutionary biological framework. Recent epidemiological studies show that this condition has a much higher incidence than previously thought (about 1:475). Very often, bodily symptoms of pregnancy (nausea, amenorrhea and abdomen swelling) are absent or greatly reduced, and neonates tend to be underweight; in many cases, pregnancy goes undetected also by relatives and physicians. Current explanations in the clinical literature are based on psychodynamic hypotheses about pregnancy-related unconscious conflicts; the lack of symptoms is accounted for by 'somatic denial'. I argue that such psychodynamic accounts are misguided for two reasons: (1) they rest on a failure to recognize the active biological role of the fetus in determining the course of pregnancy, and (2) they ignore the many levels of mother-fetus conflict over resource allocation described by biological theories of parent-offspring conflict. Here I propose to redefine this condition as 'cryptic pregnancy', and begin to explore its possible physiological correlates and evolutionary significance. In the light of parent-offspring conflict theory, cryptic pregnancy appears to reduce the costs of pregnancy, both energetic and ecological (mobility, dependence on kin/mate, etc.), thus favoring the mother at the expense of the fetus. Reduced hCG production and/or effectiveness is likely to be involved in the process. I propose and discuss three nonexclusive evolutionary hypotheses to account for this phenomenon: (1) cryptic pregnancy could be a nonadaptive outcome of conflict resolution processes over resource allocation in pregnancy, possibly related to minor disruptions of genomic imprinting mechanisms. (2) Cryptic pregnancy could result from missed spontaneous abortions of low-quality fetuses. (3) Finally, cryptic pregnancy could be an
DeCarlo, Correne A.; Dixon, Roger A.
Objectives. Chronological age is the most frequently employed predictor in life-span developmental research, despite repeated assertions that it is best conceived as a proxy for true mechanistic changes that influence cognition across time. The present investigation explores the potential that selected functional biomarkers may contribute to the more effective conceptual and operational definitions of developmental time. Methods. We used data from the Victoria Longitudinal Study to explore both static and dynamic biological or physiological markers that arguably influence process-specific mechanisms underlying cognitive changes in late life. Multilevel models were fit to test the dynamic coupling between change in theoretically relevant biomarkers (e.g., grip strength, pulmonary function) and change in select cognitive measures (e.g., executive function, episodic and semantic memory). Results. Results showed that, independent of the passage of developmental time (indexed as years in study), significant time-varying covariation was observed linking corresponding declines for select cognitive outcomes and biological markers. Discussion. Our findings support the interpretation that cognitive decline is not due to chronological aging per se but rather reflects multiple causal factors from a broad range of biological and physical health domains that operate along the age continuum. PMID:21743053
Fish, Jennifer L; Albertson, Craig; Harris, Matthew P; Lozanoff, Scott; Marcucio, Ralph S; Richtsmeier, Joan T; Trainor, Paul A
The Society for Craniofacial Genetics and Developmental Biology (SCGDB) aims to promote education, research, and communication, about normal and abnormal development of the tissues and organs of the head. Membership of the SCGDB is broad and diverse-including clinicians, orthodontists, scientists, and academics-but with all members sharing an interest in craniofacial biology. Each year, the SCGDB hosts a meeting where members can share their latest research, exchange ideas and resources, and build on or establish new collaborations. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Park, Hyung Wook
Programmed cell death (PCD) has been one of the most significant topics in modern biomedical research. Its broad importance in many biological and pathological phenomena, including morphogenesis, autoimmune disease, and cancer, demonstrates that its origin deserves a historical examination. By analyzing the role of developmental biology of the 1960s in shaping the notion of a program, this paper explains the emergence of a close correlation between not only life and death, but also the normal and the pathological in the postwar study of cell death.
Nussey, Daniel H; Baird, Duncan; Barrett, Emma; Boner, Winnie; Fairlie, Jennifer; Gemmell, Neil; Hartmann, Nils; Horn, Thorsten; Haussmann, Mark; Olsson, Mats; Turbill, Chris; Verhulst, Simon; Zahn, Sandrine; Monaghan, Pat
Telomeres play a fundamental role in the protection of chromosomal DNA and in the regulation of cellular senescence. Recent work in human epidemiology and evolutionary ecology suggests adult telomere length (TL) may reflect past physiological stress and predict subsequent morbidity and mortality, independent of chronological age. Several different methods have been developed to measure TL, each offering its own technical challenges. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of the advantages and drawbacks of each method for researchers, with a particular focus on issues that are likely to face ecologists and evolutionary biologists collecting samples in the field or in organisms that may never have been studied in this context before. We discuss the key issues to consider and wherever possible try to provide current consensus view regarding best practice with regard to sample collection and storage, DNA extraction and storage, and the five main methods currently available to measure TL. Decisions regarding which tissues to sample, how to store them, how to extract DNA, and which TL measurement method to use cannot be prescribed, and are dependent on the biological question addressed and the constraints imposed by the study system. What is essential for future studies of telomere dynamics in evolution and ecology is that researchers publish full details of their methods and the quality control thresholds they employ. PMID:25834722
Liao, David; Tlsty, Thea D
Failure to understand evolutionary dynamics has been hypothesized as limiting our ability to control biological systems. An increasing awareness of similarities between macroscopic ecosystems and cellular tissues has inspired optimism that game theory will provide insights into the progression and control of cancer. To realize this potential, the ability to compare game theoretic models and experimental measurements of population dynamics should be broadly disseminated. In this tutorial, we present an analysis method that can be used to train parameters in game theoretic dynamics equations, used to validate the resulting equations, and used to make predictions to challenge these equations and to design treatment strategies. The data analysis techniques in this tutorial are adapted from the analysis of reaction kinetics using the method of initial rates taught in undergraduate general chemistry courses. Reliance on computer programming is avoided to encourage the adoption of these methods as routine bench activities.
Santin, Dirce M; Vanz, Samile A S; Stumpf, Ida R C
This article analyzes the existing collaboration networks in the Brazilian scientific output in Evolutionary Biology, considering articles published during the period from 2000 to 2012 in journals indexed by Web of Science. The methodology integrates bibliometric techniques and Social Network Analysis resources to describe the growth of Brazilian scientific output and understand the levels, dynamics and structure of collaboration between authors, institutions and countries. The results unveil an enhancement and consolidation of collaborative relationships over time and suggest the existence of key institutions and authors, whose influence on research is expressed by the variety and intensity of the relationships established in the co-authorship of articles. International collaboration, present in more than half of the publications, is highly significant and unusual in Brazilian science. The situation indicates the internationalization of scientific output and the ability of the field to take part in the science produced by the international scientific community.
Wensink, Maarten; Westendorp, Rudi G J; Baudisch, Annette
A general concept for thinking about causality facilitates swift comprehension of results, and the vocabulary that belongs to the concept is instrumental in cross-disciplinary communication. The causal pie model has fulfilled this role in epidemiology and could be of similar value in evolutionary biology and ecology. In the causal pie model, outcomes result from sufficient causes. Each sufficient cause is made up of a "causal pie" of "component causes". Several different causal pies may exist for the same outcome. If and only if all component causes of a sufficient cause are present, that is, a causal pie is complete, does the outcome occur. The effect of a component cause hence depends on the presence of the other component causes that constitute some causal pie. Because all component causes are equally and fully causative for the outcome, the sum of causes for some outcome exceeds 100%. The causal pie model provides a way of thinking that maps into a number of recurrent themes in evolutionary biology and ecology: It charts when component causes have an effect and are subject to natural selection, and how component causes affect selection on other component causes; which partitions of outcomes with respect to causes are feasible and useful; and how to view the composition of a(n apparently homogeneous) population. The diversity of specific results that is directly understood from the causal pie model is a test for both the validity and the applicability of the model. The causal pie model provides a common language in which results across disciplines can be communicated and serves as a template along which future causal analyses can be made.
Lee, H. H.; and others
Describes two laboratory exercises adopted from current research papers for use in an undergraduate developmental biology course. Gives methods, summary of student results, and student comments. Lists lecture topics, text and reprint assignments, and laboratory exercises for course. (EB)
Stewart, Elizabeth; Federico, Sara; Karlstrom, Asa; Shelat, Anang; Sablauer, Andras; Pappo, Alberto; Dyer, Michael A
Significant advances have been made over the past 25 years in our understanding of the most common adult solid tumors such as breast, colon, lung and prostate cancer. Much less is known about childhood solid tumors because they are rare and because they originate in developing organs during fetal development, childhood and adolescence. It can be very difficult to study the cellular origins of pediatric solid tumors in developing organs characterized by rapid proliferative expansion, growth factor signaling, developmental angiogenesis, programmed cell death, tissue reorganization and cell migration. Not only has the etiology of pediatric cancer remained elusive because of their developmental origins, but it also makes it more difficult to treat. Molecular targeted therapeutics that alter developmental pathway signaling may have devastating effects on normal organ development. Therefore, basic research focused on the mechanisms of development provides an essential foundation for pediatric solid tumor translational research. In this article, we describe new resources available for the developmental biology and oncology research communities. In a companion paper, we present the detailed characterization of an orthotopic xenograft of a pediatric solid tumor derived from sympathoadrenal lineage during development.
Kockel, Lutz; Huq, Lutfi M.; Ayyar, Anika; Herold, Emma; MacAlpine, Elle; Logan, Madeline; Savvides, Christina; Kim, Grace E. S.; Chen, Jiapei; Clark, Theresa; Duong, Trang; Fazel-Rezai, Vahid; Havey, Deanna; Han, Samuel; Jagadeesan, Ravi; Kim, Eun Soo Jackie; Lee, Diane; Lombardo, Kaelina; Piyale, Ida; Shi, Hansen; Stahr, Lydia; Tung, Dana; Tayvah, Uriel; Wang, Flora; Wang, Ja-Hon; Xiao, Sarah; Topper, Sydni M.; Park, Sangbin; Rotondo, Cheryl; Rankin, Anne E.; Chisholm, Townley W.; Kim, Seung K.
Novel binary gene expression tools like the LexA-LexAop system could powerfully enhance studies of metabolism, development, and neurobiology in Drosophila. However, specific LexA drivers for neuroendocrine cells and many other developmentally relevant systems remain limited. In a unique high school biology course, we generated a LexA-based enhancer trap collection by transposon mobilization. The initial collection provides a source of novel LexA-based elements that permit targeted gene expression in the corpora cardiaca, cells central for metabolic homeostasis, and other neuroendocrine cell types. The collection further contains specific LexA drivers for stem cells and other enteric cells in the gut, and other developmentally relevant tissue types. We provide detailed analysis of nearly 100 new LexA lines, including molecular mapping of insertions, description of enhancer-driven reporter expression in larval tissues, and adult neuroendocrine cells, comparison with established enhancer trap collections and tissue specific RNAseq. Generation of this open-resource LexA collection facilitates neuroendocrine and developmental biology investigations, and shows how empowering secondary school science can achieve research and educational goals. PMID:27527793
Wise, L David; Winkelmann, Christopher T; Dogdas, Belma; Bagchi, Ansuman
Micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) is a high resolution imaging technique that has expanded and strengthened in use since it was last reviewed in this journal in 2004. The technology has expanded to include more detailed analysis of bone, as well as soft tissues, by use of various contrast agents. It is increasingly applied to questions in developmental biology and developmental toxicology. Relatively high-throughput protocols now provide a powerful and efficient means to evaluate embryos and fetuses subjected to genetic manipulations or chemical exposures. This review provides an overview of the technology, including scanning, reconstruction, visualization, segmentation, and analysis of micro-CT generated images. This is followed by a review of more recent applications of the technology in some common laboratory species that highlight the diverse issues that can be addressed.
Takagi, Chiyo; Sakamaki, Kazuhiro; Morita, Hitoshi; Hara, Yusuke; Suzuki, Makoto; Kinoshita, Noriyuki; Ueno, Naoto
The stable transgenesis of genes encoding functional or spatially localized proteins, fused to fluorescent proteins such as green fluorescent protein (GFP) or red fluorescent protein (RFP), is an extremely important research tool in cell and developmental biology. Transgenic organisms constructed with fluorescent labels for cell membranes, subcellular organelles, and functional proteins have been used to investigate cell cycles, lineages, shapes, and polarity, in live animals and in cells or tissues derived from these animals. Genes of interest have been integrated and maintained in generations of transgenic animals, which have become a valuable resource for the cell and developmental biology communities. Although the use of Xenopus laevis as a transgenic model organism has been hampered by its relatively long reproduction time (compared to Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans), its large embryonic cells and the ease of manipulation in early embryos have made it a historically valuable preparation that continues to have tremendous research potential. Here, we report on the Xenopus laevis transgenic lines our lab has generated and discuss their potential use in biological imaging.
Bershtein, Shimon; Serohijos, Adrian Wr; Shakhnovich, Eugene I
Bridging the gap between the molecular properties of proteins and organismal/population fitness is essential for understanding evolutionary processes. This task requires the integration of the several physical scales of biological organization, each defined by a distinct set of mechanisms and constraints, into a single unifying model. The molecular scale is dominated by the constraints imposed by the physico-chemical properties of proteins and their substrates, which give rise to trade-offs and epistatic (non-additive) effects of mutations. At the systems scale, biological networks modulate protein expression and can either buffer or enhance the fitness effects of mutations. The population scale is influenced by the mutational input, selection regimes, and stochastic changes affecting the size and structure of populations, which eventually determine the evolutionary fate of mutations. Here, we summarize the recent advances in theory, computer simulations, and experiments that advance our understanding of the links between various physical scales in biology.
Amin, Nirav M; Womble, Mandy; Ledon-Rettig, Cristina; Hull, Margaret; Dickinson, Amanda; Nascone-Yoder, Nanette
The large size and rapid development of amphibian embryos has facilitated ground-breaking discoveries in developmental biology. Here, we describe the embryogenesis of the Budgett's frog (Lepidobatrachus laevis), an unusual species with eggs that are over twice the diameter of laboratory Xenopus, and embryos that can tolerate higher temperatures to develop into a tadpole four times more rapidly. In addition to detailing their early development, we demonstrate that, like Xenopus, these embryos are amenable to explant culture assays and can express exogenous transcripts in a tissue-specific manner. Moreover, the steep developmental trajectory and large scale of Lepidobatrachus make it exceptionally well-suited for morphogenesis research. For example, the developing organs of the Budgett's frog are massive compared to those of most model species, and are composed of larger individual cells, thereby affording increased subcellular resolution of early vertebrate organogenesis. Furthermore, we found that complete limb regeneration, which typically requires months to achieve in most vertebrate models, occurs in a matter of days in the Budgett's tadpole, which substantially accelerates the pace of experimentation. Thus, the unusual combination of the greater size and speed of the Budgett's frog model provides inimitable advantages for developmental studies-and a novel inroad to address the mechanisms of spatiotemporal scaling during evolution.
Hearn, David J
The architecture of flowering plants is astonishingly diverse. To understand evolutionary patterns and processes that account for this diversity, I investigated developmental anatomy of storage roots and stems of 58 species in the genus Adenia (Passifloraceae) using an explicit phylogenetic context. Because expanded storage roots and stem succulence evolved multiple times in Adenia, patterns of transition between succulent and nonsucculent forms were analyzed using a comparative test that accommodates phylogenetic uncertainty. I tested the innervation hypothesis, wherein I expected the evolution of vascular strands to be correlated with evolutionary increases in water storage tissue if evolution of vascular strands facilitates transport through water and starch storage structures. Not only is evolution of vascular strands in stems statistically coupled with evolutionary increases in parenchyma storage tissue, most lineages that evolved expanded storage roots also evolved vascular strands in these roots in parallel to succulent stems. I proposed that vascular strands and closely associated storage parenchyma found in both roots and shoots of Adenia comprise a homologous unit. A switch-like evolutionary mechanism that alters the spatial expression of this unit between roots and shoots can account, in large part, for transitions between markedly different habits such as storage-rooted herbs and succulent-stemmed shrubs.
CREATING A BIOLOGICALLY-BASED DOSE-RESPONSE MODEL FOR DEVELOPMENTAL TOXICITY OF 5-FLUOROURACIL IN THE RAT. R W Setzer1, C Lau2, M L Mole2, M F Copeland2, J M Rogers2 and R J Kavlock2. 1ETD, 2RTD, NHEERL, ORD, US EPA, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA.
Biologically based dose-...
Smith, Richard J
Explanations of the historical origin of specific individual traits are a key part of the research program in paleontology and evolutionary biology. Why did bipedalism evolve in the human lineage? Why did some dinosaurs and related species have head crests? Why did viviparity evolve in some reptiles? Why did the common ancestor of primates evolve stereoscopic vision, grasping hands and feet, nails instead of claws, and large brains? These are difficult questions. To varying degrees, an explanation must grapple with (1) judgments about changes in fitness that might follow from a change in morphology - without actually observing behavior or measuring reproductive success, (2) the relationship between genes and traits, (3) limitations on doing relevant experiments, (4) the interpretation of causes that are almost certainly contingent, multifactorial, interactive, hierarchical, nonlinear, emergent, and probabilistic rather than deterministic, (5) limited information about variation and ontogeny, (6) a dataset based on the random fortunes of the historical record, including only partial hard-tissue morphology and no soft-tissue morphology, (7) an equally partial and problematic (for example, time-averaged) record of the environment, (8) the compression of all data into a geological time scale that is likely to miss biologically important events or fluctuations, (9) dependence on a process that can only be inferred ("form and even behavior may leave fossil traces, but forces like natural selection do not", (1:130) ) and finally, (10) the assumption of the "adaptationist programme"(2) that the trait in question is in fact an adaptation rather than a consequence of genetic drift, correlated evolution, pleiotropy, exaptation, or other mechanisms.
Rivas-Marín, Elena; Canosa, Inés; Devos, Damien P
Bacteria from the Planctomycetes, Verrucomicrobia, and Chlamydiae (PVC) superphylum are exceptions to the otherwise dominant mode of division by binary fission, which is based on the interaction between the FtsZ protein and the peptidoglycan (PG) biosynthesis machinery. Some PVC bacteria are deprived of the FtsZ protein and were also thought to lack PG. How these bacteria divide is still one of the major mysteries of microbiology. The presence of PG has recently been revealed in Planctomycetes and Chlamydiae, and proteins related to PG synthesis have been shown to be implicated in the division process in Chlamydiae, providing important insights into PVC mechanisms of division. Here, we review the historical lack of observation of PG in PVC bacteria, its recent detection in two phyla and its involvement in chlamydial cell division. Based on the detection of PG-related proteins in PVC proteomes, we consider the possible evolution of the diverse division mechanisms in these bacteria. We conclude by summarizing what is known and what remains to be understood about the evolutionary cell biology of PVC division modes.
Rivas-Marín, Elena; Canosa, Inés; Devos, Damien P.
Bacteria from the Planctomycetes, Verrucomicrobia, and Chlamydiae (PVC) superphylum are exceptions to the otherwise dominant mode of division by binary fission, which is based on the interaction between the FtsZ protein and the peptidoglycan (PG) biosynthesis machinery. Some PVC bacteria are deprived of the FtsZ protein and were also thought to lack PG. How these bacteria divide is still one of the major mysteries of microbiology. The presence of PG has recently been revealed in Planctomycetes and Chlamydiae, and proteins related to PG synthesis have been shown to be implicated in the division process in Chlamydiae, providing important insights into PVC mechanisms of division. Here, we review the historical lack of observation of PG in PVC bacteria, its recent detection in two phyla and its involvement in chlamydial cell division. Based on the detection of PG-related proteins in PVC proteomes, we consider the possible evolution of the diverse division mechanisms in these bacteria. We conclude by summarizing what is known and what remains to be understood about the evolutionary cell biology of PVC division modes. PMID:28018303
Bonchev, Georgi N
Transposable elements usually comprise the most abundant nongenic fraction of eukaryotic genomes. Because of their capacity to selfreplicate and to induce a wide range of mutations, transposable elements have long been considered as 'parasitic' or 'selfish'. Today, we recognize that the findings about genomic changes affected by transposable elements have considerably altered our view of the ways in which genomes evolve and work. Numerous studies have provided evidences that mobile elements have the potential to act as agents of evolution by increasing, rearranging and diversifying the genetic repertoire of their hosts. With large-scale sequencing becoming increasingly available, more and more scientists come across transposable element sequences in their data. I will provide examples that transposable elements, although having signatures of 'selfish' DNA, play a significant biological role in the maintainance of genome integrity and providing novel regulatoty networks. These features, along with the transpositional and mutagenic capacity to produce a raw genetic diversity, make the genome mobile fraction, a key player in species adaptation and microevolution. The last but not least, transposable elements stand as informative DNA markers that may complement other conventional DNA markers. Altogether, transposable elements represent a promising, but still largely unexplored research niche and deserve to be included into the agenda of molecular ecologists, evolutionary geneticists, conservation biologists and plant breeders.
Ramírez, Juan David; Tapia-Calle, Gabriela; Muñoz-Cruz, Geissler; Poveda, Cristina; Rendón, Lina M; Hincapié, Eduwin; Guhl, Felipe
Bats (Chiroptera) are the only mammals naturally able to fly. Due to this characteristic they play a relevant ecological role in the niches they inhabit. These mammals spread infectious diseases from enzootic to domestic foci. Rabbies, SARS, fungi, ebola and trypanosomes are the most common pathogens these animals may host. We conducted intensive sampling of bats from the phyllostomidae, vespertilionidae and emballonuridae families in six localities from Casanare department in eastern Colombia. Blood-EDTA samples were obtained and subsequently submitted to analyses of mitochondrial and nuclear genetic markers in order to conduct barcoding analyses to discriminate trypanosome species. The findings according to the congruence of the three molecular markers suggest the occurrence of Trypanosoma cruzi cruzi (51%), T. c. marinkellei (9%), T. dionisii (13%), T. rangeli (21%), T. evansi (4%) and T. theileri (2%) among 107 positive bat specimens. Regarding the T. cruzi DTUs, we observed the presence of TcI (60%), TcII (15%), TcIII (7%), TcIV (7%) and TcBAT (11%) being the first evidence to our concern of the foreseen genotype TcBAT in Colombia. These results allowed us to propose reliable hypotheses regarding the ecology and biology of the bats circulating in the area including the enigmatic question whether TcBAT should be considered a novel DTU. The epidemiological and evolutionary implications of these findings are herein discussed.
Smadbeck, Patrick; Stumpf, Michael P H
Development is a process that needs to be tightly coordinated in both space and time. Cell tracking and lineage tracing have become important experimental techniques in developmental biology and allow us to map the fate of cells and their progeny. A generic feature of developing and homeostatic tissues that these analyses have revealed is that relatively few cells give rise to the bulk of the cells in a tissue; the lineages of most cells come to an end quickly. Computational and theoretical biologists/physicists have, in response, developed a range of modelling approaches, most notably agent-based modelling. These models seem to capture features observed in experiments, but can also become computationally expensive. Here, we develop complementary genealogical models of tissue development that trace the ancestry of cells in a tissue back to their most recent common ancestors. We show that with both bounded and unbounded growth simple, but universal scaling relationships allow us to connect coalescent theory with the fractal growth models extensively used in developmental biology. Using our genealogical perspective, it is possible to study bulk statistical properties of the processes that give rise to tissues of cells, without the need for large-scale simulations.
Chen, Chengyu; Mu, Wei; Zhao, Yunhe; Li, Hui; Zhang, Peng; Wang, Qiuhong; Liu, Feng
trans-2-Hexenal, one of the C6 green leaf volatiles, is potentially useful for the control of Bradysia odoriphaga Yang et Zhang. In this study, the biological activity of trans-2-hexenal on B. odoriphaga was assessed in the laboratory. trans-2-Hexenal was observed to kill B. odoriphaga in different developmental stages at a relatively low concentration under fumigation. The respiration rate in the male treatment group decreased from 131.44 to 4.07 nmol/g·min with a prolonged fumigation time, while the respiration rate in females decreased from 128.82 to 24.20 nmol/g·min. Male adults exhibited a more sensitive electroantennogram response at 0.05–500 μl/ml at the dose of 10.0 μl than female adults. Moreover, trans-2-hexenal had a repellent effect on adults based on the results with a Y-tube olfactometer at 10.0 μl, as shown by the deterrent rate of male and female adults with 96.67% and 98.33%, respectively. The results showed that trans-2-hexenal had good biological activity in different developmental stages of B. odoriphaga, which could reduce the need for, and risks associated with, the use of traditional insecticides and enable nonharmful management. PMID:26170398
Smadbeck, Patrick; Stumpf, Michael P. H.
Development is a process that needs to be tightly coordinated in both space and time. Cell tracking and lineage tracing have become important experimental techniques in developmental biology and allow us to map the fate of cells and their progeny. A generic feature of developing and homeostatic tissues that these analyses have revealed is that relatively few cells give rise to the bulk of the cells in a tissue; the lineages of most cells come to an end quickly. Computational and theoretical biologists/physicists have, in response, developed a range of modelling approaches, most notably agent-based modelling. These models seem to capture features observed in experiments, but can also become computationally expensive. Here, we develop complementary genealogical models of tissue development that trace the ancestry of cells in a tissue back to their most recent common ancestors. We show that with both bounded and unbounded growth simple, but universal scaling relationships allow us to connect coalescent theory with the fractal growth models extensively used in developmental biology. Using our genealogical perspective, it is possible to study bulk statistical properties of the processes that give rise to tissues of cells, without the need for large-scale simulations. PMID:27053656
Detlef Wiegel from the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology on "Next-generation genetics in plants: Evolutionary tradeoffs, immunity and speciation" on March 25, 2010 at the 5th Annual DOE JGI User Meeting
Detlef Wiegel from the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology on "Next-generation genetics in plants: Evolutionary tradeoffs, immunity and speciation" on March 25, 2010 at the 5th Annual DOE JGI User Meeting
Nehm, Ross H.; Ha, Minsu; Mayfield, Elijah
This study explored the use of machine learning to automatically evaluate the accuracy of students' written explanations of evolutionary change. Performance of the Summarization Integrated Development Environment (SIDE) program was compared to human expert scoring using a corpus of 2,260 evolutionary explanations written by 565 undergraduate…
Sell, Stewart; Nicolini, Andrea; Ferrari, Paola; Biava, Pier M
Current medical literature acknowledges that embryonic micro-environment is able to suppress tumor development. Administering carcinogenic substances during organogenesis in fact leads to embryonic malformations, but not to offspring tumor growth. Once organogenesis has ended, administration of carcinogenic substances causes a rise in offspring tumor development. These data indicate that cancer can be considered a deviation in normal development, which can be regulated by factors of the embryonic microenvironment. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that teratoma differentiates into normal tissues once it is implanted in the embryo. Recently, it has been shown that implanting a melanoma in Zebrafish embryo did not result in a tumor development; however, it did in the adult specimen. This demonstrates that cancer cells can differentiate into normal tissues when implanted in the embryo. In addition, it was demonstrated that other tumors can revert into a normal phenotype and/or differentiate into normal tissue when implanted in the embryo. These studies led some authors to define cancer as a problem of developmental biology and to predict the present concept of "cancer stem cells theory". In this review, we record the most important researches about the reprogramming and differentiation treatments of cancer cells to better clarify how the substances taken from developing embryo or other biological substances can induce differentiation of malignant cells. Lastly, a model of cancer has been proposed here, conceived by one of us, which is consistent with the reality, as demonstrated by a great number of researches. This model integrates the theory of the "maturation arrest" of cancer cells as conceived by B. Pierce with the theory which describes cancer as a process of deterministic chaos determined by genetic and/or epigenetic alterations in differentiated cells, which leads a normal cell to become cancerous. All the researches here described demonstrated that cancer
Gehring, Kathleen M.
Many initiatives for the improvement of undergraduate science education call for inquiry-based learning that emphasizes investigative projects and reading of the primary literature. These approaches give students an understanding of science as a process and help them integrate content presented in courses. At the same time, general initiatives to promote information fluency are being promoted on many college and university campuses. Information fluency refers to discipline-specific processing of information, and it involves integration of gathered information with specific ideas to form logical conclusions. We have implemented the use of inquiry-based learning to enhance and study discipline-specific information fluency skills in an upper-level undergraduate Developmental Biology course. In this study, an information literacy tutorial and a set of linked assignments using primary literature analysis were integrated with two inquiry-based laboratory research projects. Quantitaitve analysis of student responses suggests that the abilities of students to identify and apply valid sources of information were enhanced. Qualitative assessment revealed a set of patterns by which students gather and apply information. Self-assessment responses indicated that students recognized the impact of the assignments on their abilities to gather and apply information and that they were more confident about these abilities for future biology courses and beyond. PMID:18316808
For most of evolutionary history, scientific understanding of the environment and life forms is extremely limited. In this commentary I discuss the hypothesis that ontogenetic features of living organisms can be considered biomarkers of coevolution between organisms and physicochemical agents during Earth’s history. I provide a new vision of evolution based on correlations between metabolic features and stage-dependent susceptibility of organisms to physicochemical agents with well-known environmental signatures. Thus, developmental features potentially reflect environmental changes during evolution. From this perspective, early multicellular life forms would have flourished in the anoxic Earth more than 2 billion years ago, which is at least 1.2 billion years in advance of available fossil evidence. The remarkable transition to aerobic metabolism in gastrula-stage embryos potentially reflects evolution toward tridermic organisms by 2 billion years ago. Noteworthy changes in embryonic resistance to physicochemical agents at different developmental stages that can be observed in living organisms potentially reflect the influence of environmental stress conditions during different periods of evolutionary history. Evoecotoxicology, as a multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary approach, can enhance our understanding of evolution, including the phylogenetic significance of differences in susceptibility/resistance to physicochemical agents in different organisms. PMID:16882515
Hendry, A.P.; Hensleigh, J.E.; Reisenbichler, R.R.
Sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) introduced into Lake Washington in the 1930s and 1940s now spawn at several different sites and over a period of more than 3 months. To test for evolutionary divergence within this derived lineage, embryos that would have incubated in different habitats (Cedar River or Pleasure Point Beach) or at different times (October, November, or December in the Cedar River) were reared in the laboratory at 5, 9, and 12.5??C. Some developmental variation mirrored predictions of adaptive divergence: (i) survival at 12.5??C was highest for embryos most likely to experience such temperatures in the wild (Early Cedar), (ii) development rate was fastest for progeny of late spawners (Late Cedar), and (iii) yolk conversion efficiency was matched to natural incubation temperatures. These patterns likely had a genetic basis because they were observed in a common environment and could not be attributed to differences in egg size. The absolute magnitude of divergence in development rates was moderate (Late Cedar embryos emerged only 6 days earlier at 9??C) and some predictions regarding development rates were not supported. Nonetheless our results provide evidence of adaptive divergence in only 9-14 generations.
McCauley, Heather A; Wells, James M
Pluripotent stem cell (PSC)-derived organoids are miniature, three-dimensional human tissues generated by the application of developmental biological principles to PSCs in vitro The approach to generate organoids uses a combination of directed differentiation, morphogenetic processes, and the intrinsically driven self-assembly of cells that mimics organogenesis in the developing embryo. The resulting organoids have remarkable cell type complexity, architecture and function similar to their in vivo counterparts. In the past five years, human PSC-derived organoids with components of all three germ layers have been generated, resulting in the establishment of a new human model system. Here, and in the accompanying poster, we provide an overview of how principles of developmental biology have been essential for generating human organoids in vitro, and how organoids are now being used as a primary research tool to investigate human developmental biology.
Medical research with human embryonic stem cells, despite its enormous potential to reduce human suffering, is banned in many countries and heavily restricted in others. "Moral reasons" are invoked to justify bans and restrictions on this promising research. Rather surprisingly, while those moral reasons have been extensively discussed and hotly debated in several papers, not a single article on the moral aspects of that research has attempted to answer this fundamental question: What is morality? Considering that a scientifically objective definition of morality is essential to determine whether those moral reasons are justified or groundless, this article focuses on the evolutionary origins of morality and its biological basis. Morality arose as a selectively advantageous product of evolution and preceded all religions and philosophies by millions of years. For the 99% of humankind's evolution, morality was axiomatically aimed at reducing the sufferings of the social members, because pains and afflictions, as expressions of diseases and impairments, tended to hasten the extinction of the small ancestral groups, which characteristically consisted of a few tens of members. Had the therapeutic use of human embryos been available in remote times, our ancestors would have deemed it unquestionably immoral to save amorphous and microscopic agglomerates of insensitive cells representing neither parental nor social investment, at the expense of the lives of the suffering members of their little communities. Unless we venture the untenable thesis that the unlikelihood of extinction of our immense societies entitles us to overturn the meaning of morality, we cannot but conclude that bans and restrictions on research with human embryonic stem cells are patently immoral.
Sherwin, William B
Speciation is central to evolutionary biology, and to elucidate it, we need to catch the early genetic changes that set nascent taxa on their path to species status (Via 2009). That challenge is difficult, of course, for two chief reasons: (i) serendipity is required to catch speciation in the act; and (ii) after a short time span with lingering gene flow, differentiation may be low and/or embodied only in rare alleles that are difficult to sample. In this issue of Molecular Ecology Resources, Smouse et al. (2015) have noted that optimal assessment of differentiation within and between nascent species should be robust to these challenges, and they identified a measure based on Shannon's information theory that has many advantages for this and numerous other tasks. The Shannon measure exhibits complete additivity of information at different levels of subdivision. Of all the family of diversity measures ('0' or allele counts, '1' or Shannon, '2' or heterozygosity, F(ST) and related metrics) Shannon's measure comes closest to weighting alleles by their frequencies. For the Shannon measure, rare alleles that represent early signals of nascent speciation are neither down-weighted to the point of irrelevance, as for level 2 measures, nor up-weighted to overpowering importance, as for level 0 measures (Chao et al. 2010, )2015. Shannon measures have a long history in population genetics, dating back to Shannon's PhD thesis in 1940 (Crow 2001), but have received only sporadic attention, until a resurgence of interest in the last ten years, as reviewed briefly by Smouse et al. (2015).
Ribeiro, E S; Gomes, G; Greco, L F; Cerri, R L A; Vieira-Neto, A; Monteiro, P L J; Lima, F S; Bisinotto, R S; Thatcher, W W; Santos, J E P
The objective of this series of studies was to investigate the effects of inflammatory diseases occurring before breeding on the developmental biology and reproductive responses in dairy cows. Data from 5 studies were used to investigate different questions associating health status before breeding and reproductive responses. Health information for all studies was composed of the incidence of retained fetal membranes, metritis, mastitis, lameness, and respiratory and digestive problems from parturition until the day of breeding. Retained placenta and metritis were grouped as uterine disease (UTD). Mastitis, lameness, digestive and respiratory problems were grouped as nonuterine diseases (NUTD). Study 1 evaluated the effect of disease before artificial insemination (AI), anovulation before synchronization of the estrous cycle, and low body condition score at AI on pregnancy per AI, as well as their potential interactions or additive effects. Study 2 investigated the effect of site of inflammation (UTD vs. NUTD) and time of occurrence relative to preantral or antral stages of ovulatory follicle development, and the effect of UTD and NUTD on fertility responses of cows bred by AI or by embryo transfer. Study 3 evaluated the effect of disease on fertilization and embryonic development to the morula stage. Study 4 evaluated the effect of disease on preimplantation conceptus development as well as secretion of IFN-τ and transcriptome. Study 5 investigated the effect of diseases before AI on the transcript expression of interferon-stimulated genes in peripheral blood leukocytes during peri-implantation stages of conceptus development after first AI postpartum. Altogether, these studies demonstrated that inflammatory disease before breeding reduced fertilization of oocytes and development to morula, and impaired early conceptus development to elongation stages and secretion of IFN-τ in the uterine lumen. Diseases caused inflammation-like changes in transcriptome of
Othmer, Hans G.; Painter, Kevin; Umulis, David; Xue, Chuan
We discuss theoretical and experimental approaches to three distinct developmental systems that illustrate how theory can influence experimental work and vice-versa. The chosen systems – Drosophila melanogaster, bacterial pattern formation, and pigmentation patterns – illustrate the fundamental physical processes of signaling, growth and cell division, and cell movement involved in pattern formation and development. These systems exemplify the current state of theoretical and experimental understanding of how these processes produce the observed patterns, and illustrate how theoretical and experimental approaches can interact to lead to a better understanding of development. As John Bonner said long ago ‘We have arrived at the stage where models are useful to suggest experiments, and the facts of the experiments in turn lead to new and improved models that suggest new experiments. By this rocking back and forth between the reality of experimental facts and the dream world of hypotheses, we can move slowly toward a satisfactory solution of the major problems of developmental biology.’ PMID:19844610
Chitwood, Daniel H; Sinha, Neelima R
Quantitative genetics has become a popular method for determining the genetic basis of natural variation. Combined with genomic methods, it provides a tool for discerning the genetic basis of gene expression. So-called genetical genomics approaches yield a wealth of genomic information, but by necessity, because of cost and time, fail to resolve the differences between organs, tissues, and/or cell types. Similarly, quantitative approaches in development that might potentially address these issues are seldom applied to quantitative genetics. We discuss recent advances in cell type-specific isolation methods, the quantitative analysis of phenotype, and developmental modeling that are compatible with quantitative genetics and, with time, promise to bridge the gap between these two powerful disciplines yielding unprecedented biological insight.
Nearly 20 years ago Professor Katsuhiko Mikoshiba led me to an exciting world of IP(3)-Ca(2+) signaling, we embarked on the role of IP(3)-Ca(2+) signaling on fertilization, early cell cycle progression, and body axis formation. I was fully enchanted by the world of basic science, particularly developmental biology. It is a great pleasure to contribute a paper to this special issue of Neurochemical Research honoring Professor Katsuhiko Mikoshiba. Many of the former lab members are now working in a wide range of fields, both inside or outside the fields of Neurochemical research. I am one of those who are working in a different field. Therefore, it seems fitting here to first write about our former work with IP3 receptor, and then introduce our recent works.
Frank, Steven A
Human language emerged abruptly. Diverse body forms evolved suddenly. Seed-bearing plants spread rapidly. How do complex evolutionary innovations arise so quickly? Resolving alternative claims remains difficult. The great events of the past happened a long time ago. Cancer provides a model to study evolutionary innovation. A tumor must evolve many novel traits to become an aggressive cancer. I use what we know or could study about cancer to describe the key processes of innovation. In general, evolutionary systems form a hierarchy of recursive processes. Those recursive processes determine the rates at which innovations are generated, spread and transmitted. I relate the recursive processes to abrupt evolutionary innovation.
Frank, Steven A.
Human language emerged abruptly. Diverse body forms evolved suddenly. Seed-bearing plants spread rapidly. How do complex evolutionary innovations arise so quickly? Resolving alternative claims remains difficult. The great events of the past happened a long time ago. Cancer provides a model to study evolutionary innovation. A tumor must evolve many novel traits to become an aggressive cancer. I use what we know or could study about cancer to describe the key processes of innovation. In general, evolutionary systems form a hierarchy of recursive processes. Those recursive processes determine the rates at which innovations are generated, spread and transmitted. I relate the recursive processes to abrupt evolutionary innovation. PMID:28184282
Downing-Wilson, Deborah; Pelaprat, Etienne; Rosero, Ivan; Vadeboncoeur, Jennifer; Packer, Martin; Cole, Michael
The authors share the belief that there is great potential for developmental science in bringing the ideas of Niche Construction Theory (NCT), as developed in evolutionary biology, into conversation with Vygotskian-inspired theories such as cultural-historical and activity theories, distributed cognition, and embodied cognition, although from…
Davis, Anjul Maheshwari
Developmental biology is a field in which explorations are made to answer how an organism transforms from a single cell to a complex system made up of trillions of highly organized and highly specified cells. This field, however, is not just for discovery, it is crucial for unlocking factors that lead to diseases, defects, or malformations. The one key ingredient that contributes to the success of studies in developmental biology is the technology that is available for use. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is one such technology. OCT fills a niche between the high resolution of confocal microscopy and deep imaging penetration of ultrasound. Developmental studies of the chicken embryo heart are of great interest. Studies in mature hearts, zebrafish animal models, and to a more limited degree chicken embryos, indicate a relationship between blood flow and development. It is believed that at the earliest stages, when the heart is still a tube, the purpose of blood flow is not for convective transport of oxygen, nutrients and waster, bur rather to induce shear-related gene expressions to induce further development. Yet, to this date, the simple question of "what makes blood flow?" has not been answered. This is mainly due limited availability to adequate imaging and blood flow measurement tools. Earlier work has demonstrated the potential of OCT for use in studying chicken embryo heart development, however quantitative measurement techniques still needed to be developed. In this dissertation I present technological developments I have made towards building an OCT system to study chick embryo heart development. I will describe: (1) a swept-source OCT with extended imaging depth; (2) a spectral domain OCT system for non-invasive small animal imaging; (3) Doppler flow imaging and techniques for quantitative blood flow measurement in living chicken embryos; and (4) application of the OCT system that was developed in the Specific Aims 2-5 to test hypotheses generated by a
Cells have some inborn resistance to harmful factors, which could be called physiological or natural resistance. The mechanisms of multixenobiotic resistance (MXR) and multidrug resistance (MDR) have common features in the formation of acquired resistance in microorganisms, carcinogenesis, tumour metastases and chemotherapy or irradiation. ATP-dependent membrane P-glycoprotein, as an MDR efflux pump, glutathione S-transferases and other products of evolutionary resistance-related genes arised for exportation and detoxification of cytotoxic xenobiotics and drugs are transmitted from bacteria to man. On the one hand, this evolutionary MXR as a common biological defence mechanism is a "driving" power to conserve homeostasis of cells, tissues and organs. On the other hand, mutation, selection and simplification of properties are the causes of functional and morphological changes in tumour cells which regress to a more primitive mode of existence (atavism) for adaptation to survival. In the present work are presented data on the forms of E. coli resistant to antibiotics and of sarcoma 45 resistant to alkylic preparations. They may be helpful in revealing the causes of resistance and acquired accelerated growth of cells. The development of tumours as fibromas 14-15 years following injection of a vital dye trypan blue into human skin supports our conception that neoplastic growth is a particular case of the evolutionary resistance of cells adapted to the damaging factors. So, tumour cells adopting the enhancement mechanisms of general biological persistent resistance, i. e. undergoing repeated cycles of malignancy enhancement, adapt themselves to survive under the changed unfavourable conditions.
Amin, Nirav M; Tandon, Panna; Osborne Nishimura, Erin; Conlon, Frank L
Advances in sequencing technology have significantly advanced the landscape of developmental biology research. The dissection of genetic networks in model and non-model organisms has been greatly enhanced with high-throughput sequencing technologies. RNA-seq has revolutionized the ability to perform developmental biology research in organisms without a published genome sequence. Here, we describe a protocol for developmental biologists to perform RNA-seq on dissected tissue or whole embryos. We start with the isolation of RNA and generation of sequencing libraries. We further show how to interpret and analyze the large amount of sequencing data that is generated in RNA-seq. We explore the abilities to examine differential expression, gene duplication, transcript assembly, alternative splicing and SNP discovery. For the purposes of this article, we use Xenopus laevis as the model organism to discuss uses of RNA-seq in an organism without a fully annotated genome sequence.
González-Acuña, Daniel; Vargas, Pamela; Ardiles, Karen; Parra, Luis; Guglielmone, Alberto
In order to describe the developmental biology of the tick Argas neghmei Kohls & Hoogstraal under laboratory conditions, 40 females and 40 males were collected from chicken coops located in Calama (II Region, Chile). They were fed on chickens and maintained under two laboratory conditions: one group at 30 +/- 5 degrees C and 35 +/- 5 % RH and another at 27 +/- 5 degrees C and 80 +/- 5 % RH, both at 12: 12 h L:D photoperiod. The ticks were observed daily to determine larval feeding periods, preoviposition, oviposition, egg incubation as well as the frequency of egg laying, number of eggs laid, and percentage of larval hatching. Females did not lay eggs at 80 +/- 5% RH, and data on the biology of this tick was obtained only at 35 +/- 5% RH. The life cycle of A. neghmei lasted an average of 269 days. Feeding period of each nymphal stage as well as of adult females between oviposition events lasted less than a day. Females laid on average 1.8 egg batches and egg-laying period lasted on average 14 days, during which about 96 eggs were laid per female.
Holmquist, R.; Jukes, T. H.
A response is made to the evaluation of Fitch (1980) of REH (random evolutionary hits) theory for the evolutionary divergence of proteins and nucleic acids. Correct calculations for the beta hemoglobin mRNAs of the human, mouse and rabbit in the absence and presence of selective constraints are summarized, and it is shown that the alternative evolutionary analysis of Fitch underestimates the total fixed mutations. It is further shown that the model used by Fitch to test for the completeness of the count of total base substitutions is in fact a variant of REH theory. Considerations of the variance inherent in evolutionary estimations are also presented which show the REH model to produce no more variance than other evolutionary models. In the reply, it is argued that, despite the objections raised, REH theory applied to proteins gives inaccurate estimates of total gene substitutions. It is further contended that REH theory developed for nucleic sequences suffers from problems relating to the frequency of nucleotide substitutions, the identity of the codons accepting silent and amino acid-changing substitutions, and estimate uncertainties.
Umulis, David M; Othmer, Hans G
In a Wall Street Journal article published on April 5, 2013, E. O. Wilson attempted to make the case that biologists do not really need to learn any mathematics-whenever they run into difficulty with numerical issues, they can find a technician (aka mathematician) to help them out of their difficulty. He formalizes this in Wilsons Principle No. 1: "It is far easier for scientists to acquire needed collaboration from mathematicians and statisticians than it is for mathematicians and statisticians to find scientists able to make use of their equations." This reflects a complete misunderstanding of the role of mathematics in all sciences throughout history. To Wilson, mathematics is mere number crunching, but as Galileo said long ago, "The laws of Nature are written in the language of mathematics[Formula: see text] the symbols are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures, without whose help it is impossible to comprehend a single word." Mathematics has moved beyond the geometry-based model of Galileo's time, and in a rebuttal to Wilson, E. Frenkel has pointed out the role of mathematics in synthesizing the general principles in science (Both point and counter-point are available in Wilson and Frenkel in Notices Am Math Soc 60(7):837-838, 2013). We will take this a step further and show how mathematics has been used to make new and experimentally verified discoveries in developmental biology and how mathematics is essential for understanding a problem that has puzzled experimentalists for decades-that of how organisms can scale in size. Mathematical analysis alone cannot "solve" these problems since the validation lies at the molecular level, but conversely, a growing number of questions in biology cannot be solved without mathematical analysis and modeling. Herein, we discuss a few examples of the productive intercourse between mathematics and biology.
Umulis, David M.
In a Wall Street Journal article published on April 5, 2013, E. O. Wilson attempted to make the case that biologists do not really need to learn any mathematics—whenever they run into difficulty with numerical issues, they can find a technician (aka mathematician) to help them out of their difficulty. He formalizes this in Wilsons Principle No. 1: “It is far easier for scientists to acquire needed collaboration from mathematicians and statisticians than it is for mathematicians and statisticians to find scientists able to make use of their equations.” This reflects a complete misunderstanding of the role of mathematics in all sciences throughout history. To Wilson, mathematics is mere number crunching, but as Galileo said long ago, “The laws of Nature are written in the language of mathematics…the symbols are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures, without whose help it is impossible to comprehend a single word.” Mathematics has moved beyond the geometry-based model of Galileo’s time, and in a rebuttal to Wilson, E. Frenkel has pointed out the role of mathematics in synthesizing the general principles in science (Both point and counter-point are available in Wilson and Frenkel in Notices Am Math Soc 60(7):837–838, 2013). We will take this a step further and show how mathematics has been used to make new and experimentally verified discoveries in developmental biology and how mathematics is essential for understanding a problem that has puzzled experimentalists for decades—that of how organisms can scale in size. Mathematical analysis alone cannot “solve” these problems since the validation lies at the molecular level, but conversely, a growing number of questions in biology cannot be solved without mathematical analysis and modeling. Herein, we discuss a few examples of the productive intercourse between mathematics and biology. PMID:25280665
Mkiga, A. M.; Mwatawala, M. W
Fruit flies are key pests of cucurbits in many parts of the world, including Tanzania. Developmental biology of Zeugodacus cucurbitae (Coquillett) has been determined across temperature regimes in some cucurbitaceous hosts, in limited geographies. This study was conducted to determine duration and survival rates of immature stages of Z. cucurbitae in three cucurbitaceous hosts, at different temperature regimes. It was hypothesized that temperature and cucurbitaceous hosts influence duration and survival of immature stages of Z. cucurbitae. We conducted experiments in the environmental chamber set at 75 ± 10% RH and a photoperiod of 12:12 (L:D) h, at temperatures of 20, 25, and 30°. Our results showed that duration and survival of immature stages of Z. cucurbitae differed significantly among the temperature regimes but not among the hosts. Egg incubation period as well as larval and pupal stages were significantly longer (P < 0.0001) at low temperature in all three hosts Likewise, survival rate of all immature stages were significantly higher (P < 0.0001) at higher than lower temperatures. The three hosts, cucumber (Cucumis sativus), watermelon (Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. and Nakai), and pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo) did not significantly affect duration or survival rates of immature stages of Z. cucurbitae. The low developmental thresholds were estimated at 15.88, 13.44, and 12.62 for egg, larva and pupa, respectively. These results further confirm that Z. cucurbitae is well adapted to warm climate, which dominates many areas of Tanzania. PMID:26589874
Evolutionary studies suggest that the potential for rapid emergence of novel host-parasite associations appears to be a “built-in feature” of the complex phenomenon that is Darwinian evolution. The current Emerging Infectious Disease (EID) crisis is thus a new manifestation of an old and repeating p...
Van Bocxlaer, Bert; Damme, Dirk Van; Feibel, Craig S
A running controversy in evolutionary thought was Eldredge and Gould's punctuated equilibrium model, which proposes long periods of morphological stasis interspersed with rapid bursts of dramatic evolutionary change. One of the earliest and most iconic pieces of research in support of punctuated equilibrium is the work of Williamson on the Plio-Pleistocene molluscs of the Turkana Basin. Williamson claimed to have found firm evidence for three episodes of rapid evolutionary change separated by long periods of stasis in a high-resolution sequence. Most of the discussions following this report centered on the topics of (eco)phenotype versus genotype and the possible presence of preservational and temporal artifacts. The debate proved inconclusive, leaving Williamson's reports as one of the empirical foundations of the paradigm of punctuated equilibrium. Here we conclusively show Williamson's original interpretations to be highly flawed. The supposed rapid bursts of punctuated evolutionary change represent artifacts resulting from the invasion of extrabasinal faunal elements in the Turkana palaeolakes during wet phases well known from elsewhere in Africa.
Benson, Kari E.
In this interrupted case, students read about the alarm-calling behavior of a certain type of ground squirrel and then work in groups to develop hypotheses to explain the behavior and describe data that might be used to test their hypotheses. Students are then given real data and asked to interpret the evolutionary relevance of the results.…
Laland, Kevin N.; Uller, Tobias; Feldman, Marcus W.; Sterelny, Kim; Müller, Gerd B.; Moczek, Armin; Jablonka, Eva; Odling-Smee, John
Scientific activities take place within the structured sets of ideas and assumptions that define a field and its practices. The conceptual framework of evolutionary biology emerged with the Modern Synthesis in the early twentieth century and has since expanded into a highly successful research program to explore the processes of diversification and adaptation. Nonetheless, the ability of that framework satisfactorily to accommodate the rapid advances in developmental biology, genomics and ecology has been questioned. We review some of these arguments, focusing on literatures (evo-devo, developmental plasticity, inclusive inheritance and niche construction) whose implications for evolution can be interpreted in two ways—one that preserves the internal structure of contemporary evolutionary theory and one that points towards an alternative conceptual framework. The latter, which we label the ‘extended evolutionary synthesis' (EES), retains the fundaments of evolutionary theory, but differs in its emphasis on the role of constructive processes in development and evolution, and reciprocal portrayals of causation. In the EES, developmental processes, operating through developmental bias, inclusive inheritance and niche construction, share responsibility for the direction and rate of evolution, the origin of character variation and organism–environment complementarity. We spell out the structure, core assumptions and novel predictions of the EES, and show how it can be deployed to stimulate and advance research in those fields that study or use evolutionary biology. PMID:26246559
Laland, Kevin N; Uller, Tobias; Feldman, Marcus W; Sterelny, Kim; Müller, Gerd B; Moczek, Armin; Jablonka, Eva; Odling-Smee, John
Scientific activities take place within the structured sets of ideas and assumptions that define a field and its practices. The conceptual framework of evolutionary biology emerged with the Modern Synthesis in the early twentieth century and has since expanded into a highly successful research program to explore the processes of diversification and adaptation. Nonetheless, the ability of that framework satisfactorily to accommodate the rapid advances in developmental biology, genomics and ecology has been questioned. We review some of these arguments, focusing on literatures (evo-devo, developmental plasticity, inclusive inheritance and niche construction) whose implications for evolution can be interpreted in two ways—one that preserves the internal structure of contemporary evolutionary theory and one that points towards an alternative conceptual framework. The latter, which we label the 'extended evolutionary synthesis' (EES), retains the fundaments of evolutionary theory, but differs in its emphasis on the role of constructive processes in development and evolution, and reciprocal portrayals of causation. In the EES, developmental processes, operating through developmental bias, inclusive inheritance and niche construction, share responsibility for the direction and rate of evolution, the origin of character variation and organism-environment complementarity. We spell out the structure, core assumptions and novel predictions of the EES, and show how it can be deployed to stimulate and advance research in those fields that study or use evolutionary biology.
Larsson, Hans C E; Wagner, Günter P
Developmental evolution (DE) examines the influence of developmental mechanisms on biological evolution. Here we consider the question: "what is the evidence that allows us to decide whether a certain developmental scenario for an evolutionary change is in fact "correct" or at least falsifiable?" We argue that the comparative method linked with what we call the "forensic evidence principle" (FEP) is sufficient to conduct rigorous tests of DE scenarios. The FEP states that different genetically mediated developmental causes of an evolutionary transformation will leave different signatures in the development of the derived character. Although similar inference rules have been used in practically every empirical science, we expand this approach here in two ways: (1) we justify the validity of this principle with reference to a well-known result from mathematical physics, known as the symmetry principle, and (2) propose a specific form of the FEP for DE: given two or more developmental explanations for a certain evolutionary event, say an evolutionary novelty, then the evidence discriminating between these hypotheses will be found in the most proximal internal drivers of the derived character. Hence, a detailed description of the ancestral and derived states, and their most proximal developmental drivers are necessary to discriminate between various evolutionary developmental hypotheses. We discuss how this stepwise order of testing is necessary, establishes a formal test, and how skipping this order of examination may violate a more accurate examination of DE. We illustrate the approach with an example from avian digit evolution.
Brozovic, Matija; Martin, Cyril; Dantec, Christelle; Dauga, Delphine; Mendez, Mickaël; Simion, Paul; Percher, Madeline; Laporte, Baptiste; Scornavacca, Céline; Di Gregorio, Anna; Fujiwara, Shigeki; Gineste, Mathieu; Lowe, Elijah K; Piette, Jacques; Racioppi, Claudia; Ristoratore, Filomena; Sasakura, Yasunori; Takatori, Naohito; Brown, Titus C; Delsuc, Frédéric; Douzery, Emmanuel; Gissi, Carmela; McDougall, Alex; Nishida, Hiroki; Sawada, Hitoshi; Swalla, Billie J; Yasuo, Hitoyoshi; Lemaire, Patrick
Ascidians belong to the tunicates, the sister group of vertebrates and are recognized model organisms in the field of embryonic development, regeneration and stem cells. ANISEED is the main information system in the field of ascidian developmental biology. This article reports the development of the system since its initial publication in 2010. Over the past five years, we refactored the system from an initial custom schema to an extended version of the Chado schema and redesigned all user and back end interfaces. This new architecture was used to improve and enrich the description of Ciona intestinalis embryonic development, based on an improved genome assembly and gene model set, refined functional gene annotation, and anatomical ontologies, and a new collection of full ORF cDNAs. The genomes of nine ascidian species have been sequenced since the release of the C. intestinalis genome. In ANISEED 2015, all nine new ascidian species can be explored via dedicated genome browsers, and searched by Blast. In addition, ANISEED provides full functional gene annotation, anatomical ontologies and some gene expression data for the six species with highest quality genomes. ANISEED is publicly available at: http://www.aniseed.cnrs.fr.
Guo, Yan-Lin; Carmichael, Gordon G; Wang, Ruoxing; Hong, Xiaoxiao; Acharya, Dhiraj; Huang, Faqing; Bai, Fengwei
Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) represent a promising cell source for regenerative medicine. Intensive research over the past 2 decades has led to the feasibility of using ESC-differentiated cells (ESC-DCs) in regenerative medicine. However, increasing evidence indicates that ESC-DCs generated by current differentiation methods may not have equivalent cellular functions to their in vivo counterparts. Recent studies have revealed that both human and mouse ESCs as well as some types of ESC-DCs lack or have attenuated innate immune responses to a wide range of infectious agents. These findings raise important concerns for their therapeutic applications since ESC-DCs, when implanted to a wound site of a patient, where they would likely be exposed to pathogens and inflammatory cytokines. Understanding whether an attenuated immune response is beneficial or harmful to the interaction between host and grafted cells becomes an important issue for ESC-based therapy. A substantial amount of recent evidence has demonstrated that the lack of innate antiviral responses is a common feature to ESCs and other types of pluripotent cells. This has led to the hypothesis that mammals may have adapted different antiviral mechanisms at different stages of organismal development. The underdeveloped innate immunity represents a unique and uncharacterized property of ESCs that may have important implications in developmental biology, immunology, and in regenerative medicine.
Brozovic, Matija; Martin, Cyril; Dantec, Christelle; Dauga, Delphine; Mendez, Mickaël; Simion, Paul; Percher, Madeline; Laporte, Baptiste; Scornavacca, Céline; Di Gregorio, Anna; Fujiwara, Shigeki; Gineste, Mathieu; Lowe, Elijah K.; Piette, Jacques; Racioppi, Claudia; Ristoratore, Filomena; Sasakura, Yasunori; Takatori, Naohito; Brown, Titus C.; Delsuc, Frédéric; Douzery, Emmanuel; Gissi, Carmela; McDougall, Alex; Nishida, Hiroki; Sawada, Hitoshi; Swalla, Billie J.; Yasuo, Hitoyoshi; Lemaire, Patrick
Ascidians belong to the tunicates, the sister group of vertebrates and are recognized model organisms in the field of embryonic development, regeneration and stem cells. ANISEED is the main information system in the field of ascidian developmental biology. This article reports the development of the system since its initial publication in 2010. Over the past five years, we refactored the system from an initial custom schema to an extended version of the Chado schema and redesigned all user and back end interfaces. This new architecture was used to improve and enrich the description of Ciona intestinalis embryonic development, based on an improved genome assembly and gene model set, refined functional gene annotation, and anatomical ontologies, and a new collection of full ORF cDNAs. The genomes of nine ascidian species have been sequenced since the release of the C. intestinalis genome. In ANISEED 2015, all nine new ascidian species can be explored via dedicated genome browsers, and searched by Blast. In addition, ANISEED provides full functional gene annotation, anatomical ontologies and some gene expression data for the six species with highest quality genomes. ANISEED is publicly available at: http://www.aniseed.cnrs.fr. PMID:26420834
Perron, Gabriel G; Inglis, R Fredrik; Pennings, Pleuni S; Cobey, Sarah
Although microbes have been evolving resistance to antimicrobials for millennia, the spread of resistance in pathogen populations calls for the development of new drugs and treatment strategies. We propose that successful, long-term resistance management requires a better understanding of how resistance evolves in the first place. This is an opportunity for evolutionary biologists to engage in public health, a collaboration that has substantial precedent. Resistance evolution has been an important tool for developing and testing evolutionary theory, especially theory related to the genetic basis of new traits and constraints on adaptation. The present era is no exception. The articles in this issue highlight the breadth of current research on resistance evolution and also its challenges. In this introduction, we review the conceptual advances that have been achieved from studying resistance evolution and describe a path forward. PMID:25861380
Svensson, Mats E; Haas, Alexander
The mouthparts of anuran tadpoles are highly derived compared to those of caecilians or salamanders. The suprarostral cartilages support the tadpole's upper beak; the infrarostral cartilages support the lower beak. Both supra- and infrarostral cartilages are absent in other vertebrates. These differences reflect the evolutionary origin of a derived feeding mode in anuran tadpoles. We suggest that these unique cartilages stem from the evolution of new articulations within preexisting cartilages, rather than novel cartilage condensations. We propose testing this hypothesis through a search for similarities in the development of the suprarostral and infrarostral cartilage articulations and of the primary jaw joint. In Xenopus, the gene zax is expressed in a region corresponding to the infrarostral cartilage. This gene is related to the bapx1-gene, which regulates jaw joint development. Further investigation of these genes, as well as other genes with joint-related functions, in anuran craniofacial development may provide a connection between the morphological diversity seen in the vertebrate head and the corresponding diversity in genetic regulatory processes. We believe that the evolution of larval jaws in anurans may shed light on the general evolutionary mechanisms of how new articulations, not only in the jaw region, could have arisen in the vertebrate skull.
Rosado, Daniele; Gramegna, Giovanna; Cruz, Aline; Lira, Bruno Silvestre; Freschi, Luciano; de Setta, Nathalia
Although the importance of light for tomato plant yield and edible fruit quality is well known, the PHYTOCHROME INTERACTING FACTORS (PIFs), main components of phytochrome-mediated light signal transduction, have been studied almost exclusively in Arabidopsis thaliana. Here, the diversity, evolution and expression profile of PIF gene subfamily in Solanum lycopersicum was characterized. Eight tomato PIF loci were identified, named SlPIF1a, SlPIF1b, SlPIF3, SlPIF4, SlPIF7a, SlPIF7b, SlPIF8a and SlPIF8b. The duplication of SlPIF1, SlPIF7 and SlPIF8 genes were dated and temporally coincided with the whole-genome triplication event that preceded tomato and potato divergence. Different patterns of mRNA accumulation in response to light treatments were observed during seedling deetiolation, dark-induced senescence, diel cycle and fruit ripening. SlPIF4 showed similar expression profile as that reported for A. thaliana homologs, indicating an evolutionary conserved function of PIF4 clade. A comprehensive analysis of the evolutionary and transcriptional data allowed proposing that duplicated SlPIFs have undergone sub- and neofunctionalization at mRNA level, pinpointing the importance of transcriptional regulation for the maintenance of duplicated genes. Altogether, the results indicate that genome polyploidization and functional divergence have played a major role in diversification of the Solanum PIF gene subfamily. PMID:27802334
Street, Maria E; Buscema, Massimo; Smerieri, Arianna; Montanini, Luisa; Grossi, Enzo
One of the specific aims of systems biology is to model and discover properties of cells, tissues and organisms functioning. A systems biology approach was undertaken to investigate possibly the entire system of intra-uterine growth we had available, to assess the variables of interest, discriminate those which were effectively related with appropriate or restricted intrauterine growth, and achieve an understanding of the systems in these two conditions. The Artificial Adaptive Systems, which include Artificial Neural Networks and Evolutionary Algorithms lead us to the first analyses. These analyses identified the importance of the biochemical variables IL-6, IGF-II and IGFBP-2 protein concentrations in placental lysates, and offered a new insight into placental markers of fetal growth within the IGF and cytokine systems, confirmed they had relationships and offered a critical assessment of studies previously performed.
Parker, William; Ollerton, Jeff
Industrialized society currently faces a wide range of non-infectious, immune-related pandemics. These pandemics include a variety of autoimmune, inflammatory and allergic diseases that are often associated with common environmental triggers and with genetic predisposition, but that do not occur in developing societies. In this review, we briefly present the idea that these pandemics are due to a limited number of evolutionary mismatches, the most damaging being 'biome depletion'. This particular mismatch involves the loss of species from the ecosystem of the human body, the human biome, many of which have traditionally been classified as parasites, although some may actually be commensal or even mutualistic. This view, evolved from the 'hygiene hypothesis', encompasses a broad ecological and evolutionary perspective that considers host-symbiont relations as plastic, changing through ecological space and evolutionary time. Fortunately, this perspective provides a blueprint, termed 'biome reconstitution', for disease treatment and especially for disease prevention. Biome reconstitution includes the controlled and population-wide reintroduction (i.e. domestication) of selected species that have been all but eradicated from the human biome in industrialized society and holds great promise for the elimination of pandemics of allergic, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
Parker, William; Ollerton, Jeff
Industrialized society currently faces a wide range of non-infectious, immune-related pandemics. These pandemics include a variety of autoimmune, inflammatory and allergic diseases that are often associated with common environmental triggers and with genetic predisposition, but that do not occur in developing societies. In this review, we briefly present the idea that these pandemics are due to a limited number of evolutionary mismatches, the most damaging being ‘biome depletion’. This particular mismatch involves the loss of species from the ecosystem of the human body, the human biome, many of which have traditionally been classified as parasites, although some may actually be commensal or even mutualistic. This view, evolved from the ‘hygiene hypothesis’, encompasses a broad ecological and evolutionary perspective that considers host-symbiont relations as plastic, changing through ecological space and evolutionary time. Fortunately, this perspective provides a blueprint, termed ‘biome reconstitution’, for disease treatment and especially for disease prevention. Biome reconstitution includes the controlled and population-wide reintroduction (i.e. domestication) of selected species that have been all but eradicated from the human biome in industrialized society and holds great promise for the elimination of pandemics of allergic, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. PMID:24481190
Discusses how biologists use evolutionary theory and provides examples of how evolutionary biologists test hypotheses on specific modes of selection and evolution. Presents an example of the successful predictive power of one evolutionary hypothesis. Contains 38 references. (DDR)
One paradigm used in understanding the control of morphogenetic events is the concept of positional information, where sub-organismic components (such as cells) act in response to positional cues. It is important to determine what kinds of spatiotemporal patterns may be obtained by such a method, and what the characteristics of such a morphogenetic process might be. This paper presents a computer model of morphogenesis based on gene activity driven by interpreting a positional information field. In this model, the interactions of mutually regulating developmental genes are viewed as a map from R2 to R2, and are modeled by the complex number algebra. Functions in complex variables are used to simulate genetic interactions resulting in position-dependent differentiation. This is shown to be equivalent to computing modified Julia sets, and is seen to be sufficient to produce a very rich set of morphologies which are similar in appearance and several important characteristics to those of real organisms. The properties of this model can be used to study the potential role of fields and positional information as guiding factors in morphogenesis, as the model facilitates the study of static images, time-series (movies) and experimental alterations of the developmental process. It is thus shown that gene interactions can be modeled as a multi-dimensional algebra, and that only two interacting genes are sufficient for (i) complex pattern formation, (ii) chaotic differentiation behavior, and (iii) production of sharp edges from a continuous positional information field. This model is meant to elucidate the properties of the process of positional information-guided biomorphogenesis, not to serve as a simulation of any particular organism's development. Good quantitative data are not currently available on the interplay of gene products in morphogenesis. Thus, no attempt is made to link the images produced with actual pictures of any particular real organism. A brief
Gordon, Richard; Melvin, Cameron A
Our desire to educate engineers to be able to understand the component processes of embryogenesis, is driven by the notion that only when principles borrowed from mathematics, fluid mechanics, materials science, etc. are applied to classical problems in developmental biology, will sufficient comprehension be achieved to permit successful understanding and therapeutic manipulation of embryos. As it now stands, biologists seldom possess either skills or interest in those areas of endeavor. Thus, we have determined that it is easier to educate engineers in the principles of developmental biology than to help biologists deal with the complexities of engineering. We describe a graduate course that has been taken, between 1999 and 2002, by 17 engineering students. Our goal is to prepare them to reverse engineer the embryo, i.e., to look at it as an object or process whose construction, albeit self-construction, might be explicable in terms of engineering principles applied at molecular, cellular and whole embryo levels.
Yuan, Jianbo; Zhu, Qingming; Liu, Bin
The evolutionary history of living species is usually inferred through the phylogenetic analysis of molecular and morphological information using various mathematical models. New challenges in phylogenetic analysis are centered mostly on the search for accurate and efficient methods to handle the huge amounts of sequence data generated from newer genome sequencing. The next major challenge is the determination of relationships between the evolution of structural elements and their functional implementation, which is largely ignored in previous analyses. Here, we described the discovery of structural elements in metazoan mitochondrial genomes, termed key K-strings, that can serve as a basis for phylogenetic tree construction. Although comprising only a small fraction (0.73%) of all K-strings, these key K-strings are pivotal to the tree construction because they allow for a significant reduction in the computational time required to construct phylogenetic trees, and more importantly, they make significant improvement to the results of phylogenetic inference. The trees constructed from the key K-strings were consistent overall to our current view of metazoan phylogeny and exhibited a more rational topology than the trees constructed by using other conventional methods. Surprisingly, the key K-strings tended to accumulate in the conserved regions of the original sequences, which were most likely due to strong selection pressure. Furthermore, the special structural features of the key K-strings should have some potential applications in the study of the structures and functions relationship of proteins and in the determination of evolutionary trajectory of species. The novelty and potential importance of key K-strings lead us to believe that they are essential evolutionary elements. As such, they may play important roles in the process of species evolution and their physical existence. Further studies could lead to discoveries regarding the relationship between
Infanti, Lynn M.; Wiles, Jason R.
This investigation evaluated the effects of exposure to the "Evo in the News" section of the "Understanding Evolution" website on students' attitudes toward biological evolution in undergraduates in a mixed-majors introductory biology course at Syracuse University. Students' attitudes toward evolution and changes therein were…
Foote, M.; Hunter, J. P.; Janis, C. M.; Sepkoski, J. J. Jr
Some molecular clock estimates of divergence times of taxonomic groups undergoing evolutionary radiation are much older than the groups' first observed fossil record. Mathematical models of branching evolution are used to estimate the maximal rate of fossil preservation consistent with a postulated missing history, given the sum of species durations implied by early origins under a range of species origination and extinction rates. The plausibility of postulated divergence times depends on origination, extinction, and preservation rates estimated from the fossil record. For eutherian mammals, this approach suggests that it is unlikely that many modern orders arose much earlier than their oldest fossil records.
Stearns, Stephen C.
This review is aimed at readers seeking an introductory overview, teaching courses and interested in visionary ideas. It first describes the range of topics covered by evolutionary medicine, which include human genetic variation, mismatches to modernity, reproductive medicine, degenerative disease, host–pathogen interactions and insights from comparisons with other species. It then discusses priorities for translational research, basic research and health management. Its conclusions are that evolutionary thinking should not displace other approaches to medical science, such as molecular medicine and cell and developmental biology, but that evolutionary insights can combine with and complement established approaches to reduce suffering and save lives. Because we are on the cusp of so much new research and innovative insights, it is hard to estimate how much impact evolutionary thinking will have on medicine, but it is already clear that its potential is enormous. PMID:22933370
Kijimoto, Teiya; Pespeni, Melissa; Beckers, Oliver; Moczek, Armin P.
Many important questions in developmental biology increasingly interface with related questions in other biological disciplines such as evolutionary biology and ecology. In this article, we review and summarize recent progress in the development of horned beetles and beetle horns as study systems amenable to the integration of a wide range of approaches, from gene function analysis in the laboratory to population ecological and behavioral studies in the field. Specifically, we focus on three key questions at the current interface of developmental biology, evolutionary biology and ecology: (1) the developmental mechanisms underlying the origin and diversification of novel, complex traits, (2) the relationship between phenotypic diversification and the diversification of genes and transcriptomes, and (3) the role of behavior as a leader or follower in developmental evolution. For each question we discuss how work on horned beetles is contributing to our current understanding of key issues, as well as highlight challenges and opportunities for future studies. PMID:23799584
Heckscher, Ellie S; Long, Fuhui; Layden, Michael J; Chuang, Chein-Hui; Manning, Laurina; Richart, Jourdain; Pearson, Joseph C; Crews, Stephen T; Peng, Hanchuan; Myers, Eugene; Doe, Chris Q
A major limitation in understanding embryonic development is the lack of cell type-specific markers. Existing gene expression and marker atlases provide valuable tools, but they typically have one or more limitations: a lack of single-cell resolution; an inability to register multiple expression patterns to determine their precise relationship; an inability to be upgraded by users; an inability to compare novel patterns with the database patterns; and a lack of three-dimensional images. Here, we develop new 'atlas-builder' software that overcomes each of these limitations. A newly generated atlas is three-dimensional, allows the precise registration of an infinite number of cell type-specific markers, is searchable and is open-ended. Our software can be used to create an atlas of any tissue in any organism that contains stereotyped cell positions. We used the software to generate an 'eNeuro' atlas of the Drosophila embryonic CNS containing eight transcription factors that mark the major CNS cell types (motor neurons, glia, neurosecretory cells and interneurons). We found neuronal, but not glial, nuclei occupied stereotyped locations. We added 75 new Gal4 markers to the atlas to identify over 50% of all interneurons in the ventral CNS, and these lines allowed functional access to those interneurons for the first time. We expect the atlas-builder software to benefit a large proportion of the developmental biology community, and the eNeuro atlas to serve as a publicly accessible hub for integrating neuronal attributes - cell lineage, gene expression patterns, axon/dendrite projections, neurotransmitters--and linking them to individual neurons.
Carpendale, Jeremy I M; Hammond, Stuart I; Atwood, Sherrie
Morality and cooperation are central to human life. Psychological explanations for moral development and cooperative behavior will have biological and evolutionary dimensions, but they can differ radically in their approach to biology. In particular, many recent proposals have pursued the view that aspects of morality are innate. We briefly review and critique two of these claims. In contrast to these nativist assumptions about the role of biology in morality, we present an alternative approach based on a relational developmental systems view of moral development. The role for biology in this approach is in setting up the conditions--the developmental system--in which forms of interaction and later forms of thinking emerge.
Donahoe, John W
This review focuses on parallels between the selectionist sciences of evolutionary biology and behavior analysis. In selectionism, complex phenomena are interpreted as the cumulative products of relatively simple processes acting over time—natural selection in evolutionary biology and reinforcement in behavior analysis. Because evolutionary biology is the more mature science, an examination of the factors that led to the triumph of natural selection provides clues whereby reinforcement may achieve a similar fate in the science of behavior.
Richardson, Elisabeth; Zerr, Kelly; Tsaousis, Anastasios; Dorrell, Richard G.; Dacks, Joel B.
In animal and fungal model organisms, the complexities of cell biology have been analyzed in exquisite detail and much is known about how these organisms function at the cellular level. However, the model organisms cell biologists generally use include only a tiny fraction of the true diversity of eukaryotic cellular forms. The divergent cellular processes observed in these more distant lineages are still largely unknown in the general scientific community. Despite the relative obscurity of these organisms, comparative studies of them across eukaryotic diversity have had profound implications for our understanding of fundamental cell biology in all species and have revealed the evolution and origins of previously observed cellular processes. In this Perspective, we will discuss the complexity of cell biology found across the eukaryotic tree, and three specific examples of where studies of divergent cell biology have altered our understanding of key functional aspects of mitochondria, plastids, and membrane trafficking. PMID:26668171
humanoid robot control. In Proceedings of the IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation, 2004.  J. Miller. Evolving a self-repairing, self-regulating...An evolutionary based approach for control programming of humanoids . In Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Humanoid Robots , 2003. 110 ...gaits for legged robots . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 4.2 Previous work evolving gaits for legged robots . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 4.3 Applying
Is salamander limb regeneration really perfect? Anatomical and morphogenetic analysis of forelimb muscle regeneration in GFP-transgenic axolotls as a basis for regenerative, developmental, and evolutionary studies.
Diogo, R; Nacu, E; Tanaka, E M
The axolotl Ambystoma mexicanum is one of the most commonly used model organisms in developmental and regenerative studies because it can reconstitute what is believed to be a completely normal anatomical and functional forelimb/hindlimb after amputation. However, to date it has not been confirmed whether each regenerated forelimb muscle is really a "perfect" copy of the original muscle. This study describes the regeneration of the arm, forearm, hand, and some pectoral muscles (e.g., coracoradialis) in transgenic axolotls that express green fluorescent protein (GFP) in muscle fibers. The observations found that: (1) there were muscle anomalies in 43% of the regenerated forelimbs; (2) however, on average in each regenerated forelimb there are anomalies in only 2.5% of the total number of muscles examined, and there were no significant differences observed in the specific insertion and origin of the other muscles analyzed; (3) one of the most notable and common anomalies (seen in 35% of the regenerated forelimbs) was the presence of a fleshy coracoradialis at the level of the arm; this is a particularly outstanding configuration because in axolotls and in urodeles in general this muscle only has a thin tendon at the level of the arm, and the additional fleshy belly in the regenerated arms is strikingly similar to the fleshy biceps brachii of amniotes, suggesting a remarkable parallel between a regeneration defect and a major phenotypic change that occurred during tetrapod limb evolution; (4) during forelimb muscle regeneration there was a clear proximo-distal and radio-ulnar morphogenetic gradient, as seen in normal development, but also a ventro-dorsal gradient in the order of regeneration, which was not previously described in the literature. These results have broader implications for regenerative, evolutionary, developmental and morphogenetic studies.
Wideman, Jeremy G; Muñoz-Gómez, Sergio A
The ER-mitochondria organizing network (ERMIONE) in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is involved in maintaining mitochondrial morphology and lipid homeostasis. ERMES and MICOS are two scaffolding complexes of ERMIONE that contribute to these processes. ERMES is ancient but has been lost in several lineages including animals, plants, and SAR (stramenopiles, alveolates and rhizaria). On the other hand, MICOS is ancient and has remained present in all organisms bearing mitochondrial cristae. The ERMIONE precursor evolved in the α-proteobacterial ancestor of mitochondria which had the central subunit of MICOS, Mic60. The subsequent evolution of ERMIONE and its interactors in eukaryotes reflects the integrative co-evolution of mitochondria and their hosts and the adaptive paths that some lineages have followed in their specialization to certain environments. By approaching the ERMIONE from a perspective of comparative evolutionary cell biology, we hope to shed light on not only its evolutionary history, but also how ERMIONE components may function in organisms other than S. cerevisiae. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: The cellular lipid landscape edited by Tim P. Levine and Anant K. Menon.
Yamanoue, Yusuke; Miya, Masaki; Matsuura, Keiichi; Miyazawa, Seita; Tsukamoto, Naofumi; Doi, Hiroyuki; Takahashi, Hiroshi; Mabuchi, Kohji; Nishida, Mutsumi; Sakai, Harumi
Although the fugu Takifugu rubripes has attracted attention as a model organism for genomic studies because of its compact genome, it is not generally appreciated that there are approximately 25 closely related species with limited distributions in the waters of East Asia. We performed molecular phylogenetic analyses and constructed a time tree using whole mitochondrial genome sequences from 15 Takifugu species together with 10 outgroups to examine patterns of diversification. The resultant time tree showed that the modern Takifugu species underwent explosive speciation during the Pliocene 1.8-5.3 Ma, which is comparable with that of the Malawi cichlids and tropheine cichlids in Lake Tanganyika. Considering their limited distributions and remarkable variations in coloration, morphology, and behavior, the results of the present study strongly suggest that Takifugu species are strong candidates as a model system for evolutionary studies of speciation mechanisms in marine environments where few such organisms are available.
Dayhoff, M. O.
Prokaryotic and eukaryotic evolutionary trees are developed from protein and nucleic-acid sequences by the methods of numerical taxonomy. Trees are presented for bacterial ferredoxins, 5S ribosomal RNA, c-type cytochromes , cytochromes c2 and c', and 5.8S ribosomal RNA; the implications for early evolution are discussed; and a composite tree showing the branching of the anaerobes, aerobes, archaebacteria, and eukaryotes is shown. Single lines are found for all oxygen-evolving photosynthetic forms and for the salt-loving and high-temperature forms of archaebacteria. It is argued that the eukaryote mitochondria, chloroplasts, and cytoplasmic host material are descended from free-living prokaryotes that formed symbiotic associations, with more than one symbiotic event involved in the evolution of each organelle.
Abrams, Elizabeth; Rutherford, Julienne
Postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), the leading cause of maternal mortality worldwide, is responsible for 35 percent of maternal deaths. Proximately, PPH results from the failure of the placenta to separate from the uterine wall properly, most often because of impairment of uterine muscle contraction. Despite its prevalence and its well-described clinical manifestations, the ultimate causes of PPH are not known and have not been investigated through an evolutionary lens. We argue that vulnerability to PPH stems from the intensely invasive nature of human placentation. The human placenta causes uterine vessels to undergo transformation to provide the developing fetus with a high plane of maternal resources; the degree of this transformation in humans is extensive. We argue that the particularly invasive nature of the human placenta increases the possibility of increased blood loss at parturition. We review evidence suggesting PPH and other placental disorders represent an evolutionarily novel condition in hominins. PMID:21909154
Morales Poole, Jose Ricardo; Paganini, Julien; Pontarotti, Pierre
Two different adaptive immune systems (AIS) are present in the two phyla of vertebrates (jawed vertebrates and cyclostomes). The jawed vertebrate system is based on IG/TCR/RAG/MHC while the cyclostome system is based on VLRCs and AID-like enzymes both systems using homologous Cell types (B-cell and B-cell Like, T-cell and T-cell like). We will present our current view of the evolution of these two AISs and present alternative hypotheses that could explain the apparent convergent evolution of the two systems. We will also discuss why comparative immunology analyses should be based on evolutionary biology approaches and not on the scale of progress one.
Meyer, Gretchen A.
Persistent muscle atrophy in the chronically torn rotator cuff is a significant obstacle for treatment and recovery. Large atrophic changes are predictive of poor surgical and nonsurgical outcomes and frequently fail to resolve even following functional restoration of loading and rehabilitation. New insights into the processes of muscle atrophy and recovery gained through studies in developmental biology combined with the novel tools and strategies emerging in regenerative medicine provide new avenues to combat the vexing problem of muscle atrophy in the rotator cuff. Moving these treatment strategies forward likely will involve the combination of surgery, biologic/cellular agents, and physical interventions, as increasing experimental evidence points to the beneficial interaction between biologic therapies and physiologic stresses. Thus, the physical therapy profession is poised to play a significant role in defining the success of these combinatorial therapies. This perspective article will provide an overview of the developmental biology and regenerative medicine strategies currently under investigation to combat muscle atrophy and how they may integrate into the current and future practice of physical therapy. PMID:26847008
Barnes, William D.
Each fall semester, approximately half of the students enrolled in the introductory biology course of a small rural college are concurrently enrolled in at least one developmental education math or English course. The resulting grades of D, F and Withdraw for this cohort will be as high as 50% for those enrolled in one developmental course and 65% for those enrolled in two. The purpose of this study was to provide academic interventions such as use of online supplemental learning materials and resources, as well as to emphasize the Campus Tutoring and Learning Center (CTLC) as a resource, for students in the introductory biology course in order to analyze the impact on the learning outcomes of the developmental students. The approach used was an action research model utilizing a pretest-posttest experimental design with the treatment group receiving weekly reminders regarding the availability and value of utilizing the CTLC and the control group receiving only an initial invitation to visit the CTLC. The results found a statistically significant effect ( p < .05) on student use of the CTLC in the treatment group as compared to the control. This suggests that faculty emphasis of campus learning resources can have a positive impact on student behavior. The effect of online supplemental learning materials and resources, including use of the CTLC, on student learning outcomes was found to be statistically insignificant ( p > .05).
Understanding interactions between insect agents and host plants is critical for forecasting their impact before the insects are introduced, and for improving our knowledge of the mechanisms driving success or failure in biological weed control. As invasive plants may undergo rapid adaptive evolutio...
Klymkowsky, Michael W.; Rentsch, Jeremy D.; Begovic, Emina; Cooper, Melanie M.
Many introductory biology courses amount to superficial surveys of disconnected topics. Often, foundational observations and the concepts derived from them and students' ability to use these ideas appropriately are overlooked, leading to unrealistic expectations and unrecognized learning obstacles. The result can be a focus on memorization at the…
Fuerst, Paul A.
A nine-item questionnaire was used to survey 2,387 Ohio State University students in 10 courses about their views on the creation/evolution controversy, especially their acceptance of the concept of Darwinian evolution and on the concept of equal time for "creation science." Results and implications for biology education are presented.…
Knowledge discovery from large and complex collections of today's scientific datasets is a challenging task. With the ability to measure and simulate more processes at increasingly finer spatial and temporal scales, the increasing number of data dimensions and data objects is presenting tremendous challenges for data analysis and effective data exploration methods and tools. Researchers are overwhelmed with data and standard tools are often insufficient to enable effective data analysis and knowledge discovery. The main objective of this thesis is to provide important new capabilities to accelerate scientific knowledge discovery form large, complex, and multivariate scientific data. The research covered in this thesis addresses these scientific challenges using a combination of scientific visualization, information visualization, automated data analysis, and other enabling technologies, such as efficient data management. The effectiveness of the proposed analysis methods is demonstrated via applications in two distinct scientific research fields, namely developmental biology and high-energy physics.Advances in microscopy, image analysis, and embryo registration enable for the first time measurement of gene expression at cellular resolution for entire organisms. Analysis of high-dimensional spatial gene expression datasets is a challenging task. By integrating data clustering and visualization, analysis of complex, time-varying, spatial gene expression patterns and their formation becomes possible. The analysis framework MATLAB and the visualization have been integrated, making advanced analysis tools accessible to biologist and enabling bioinformatic researchers to directly integrate their analysis with the visualization. Laser wakefield particle accelerators (LWFAs) promise to be a new compact source of high-energy particles and radiation, with wide applications ranging from medicine to physics. To gain insight into the complex physical processes of particle
Ramachandran, V S
Patients with right hemisphere strokes sometimes vehemently deny their paralysis. I describe three new experiments that were designed to determine the extent and depth of this denial. Curiously, when asked to perform an action with their paralyzed arm, they often employ a whole arsenal of grossly exaggerated 'Freudian defense mechanisms' to account for their failure (e.g. 'I have arthritis' or 'I don't feel like moving it right now'). To explain this, I propose that, in normal individuals, the left hemisphere ordinarily deals with small, local 'anomalies' or discrepancies by trying to impose consistency in order to preserve the status quo. But when the anomaly exceeds threshold, a 'devil's advocate' in the right hemisphere intervenes and generates a paradigm shift, i.e. it results in the construction of a new model using the same data. A failure of this process in right hemisphere stroke would partially explain anosognosia. Also, our model provides a new theory for the evolutionary origin of self-deception that is different from one proposed by Trivers. And, finally, I use anosognosia as a launching-off point to speculate on a number of other aspects of human nature such as Freudian defense mechanisms, laughter, dreams and the mnemonic functions of the hippocampus.
Sajid, Waseem; Kulahin, Nikolaj; Schluckebier, Gerd; Ribel, Ulla; Henderson, Hope Rosalind; Tatar, Marc; Hansen, Bo Falck; Svendsen, Angela Manegold; Kiselyov, Vladislav V.; Nørgaard, Per; Wahlund, Per-Olof; Brandt, Jakob; Kohanski, Ronald A.; Andersen, Asser Sloth; De Meyts, Pierre
We report the crystal structure of two variants of Drosophila melanogaster insulin-like peptide 5 (DILP5) at a resolution of 1.85 Å. DILP5 shares the basic fold of the insulin peptide family (T conformation) but with a disordered B-chain C terminus. DILP5 dimerizes in the crystal and in solution. The dimer interface is not similar to that observed in vertebrates, i.e. through an anti-parallel β-sheet involving the B-chain C termini but, in contrast, is formed through an anti-parallel β-sheet involving the B-chain N termini. DILP5 binds to and activates the human insulin receptor and lowers blood glucose in rats. It also lowers trehalose levels in Drosophila. Reciprocally, human insulin binds to the Drosophila insulin receptor and induces negative cooperativity as in the human receptor. DILP5 also binds to insect insulin-binding proteins. These results show high evolutionary conservation of the insulin receptor binding properties despite divergent insulin dimerization mechanisms. PMID:20974844
Danielopol, Dan L.; Pinto, Ricardo L.; Gross, Martin; Da Silva Pereira, Julia; Riedl, Nicoletta
The present essay reviews the history of the research on Elpidium ostracods (Timiriaseviinae), a group exclusively known to live in micro-aquaria of phytotelmata from Neotropical bromeliaceans. A new species, E. martensi n. sp., is described and aspects dealing with functional morphology and taxonomy of the genus are presented. Related to these topics an evolutionary hypothesis and a programme of pluridisciplinary research are proposed. This should allow further improvement of our knowledge on the origin and evolution of the subfamily Timiriaseviinae, one of the most diverse cytheroid ostracod groups in inland waters since the beginning of the Mesozoic. Specifically, the following aspects are treated in-depth in the essay: (1) morphologic traits of the valves, useful for characterisation of Timiriaseviinae taxa; (2) the reversal of the valve overlap and hinge elements; (3) the diverse development of the posterior half of the female carapace, a quasi-independent morphological trait; (4) the morphological shapes of the male copulatory process; (5) the functional significance of the antero-ventral segment of the valve selvage for the life of Elpidium ostracods in the micro-aquaria of the bromeliaceans; (6) the necessary improvement of comparative descriptions of the limbs-chaetotaxy for Timiriaseviinae. PMID:28090173
Bean, Thomas E.; Sinatra, Gale M.; Schrader, P. G.
The use of computer simulations as educational tools may afford the means to develop understanding of evolution as a natural, emergent, and decentralized process. However, special consideration of developmental constraints on learning may be necessary when using these technologies. Specifically, the essentialist (biological forms possess an immutable essence), teleological (assignment of purpose to living things and/or parts of living things that may not be purposeful), and intentionality (assumption that events are caused by an intelligent agent) biases may be reinforced through the use of computer simulations, rather than addressed with instruction. We examine the video game Spore for its depiction of evolutionary content and its potential to reinforce these cognitive biases. In particular, we discuss three pedagogical strategies to mitigate weaknesses of Spore and other computer simulations: directly targeting misconceptions through refutational approaches, targeting specific principles of scientific inquiry, and directly addressing issues related to models as cognitive tools.
McColl, Kenneth A; Sunarto, Agus; Holmes, Edward C
Biological invasions are a major threat to global biodiversity. Australia has experienced many invasive species, with the common carp (Cyprinus carpio L.) a prominent example. Cyprinid herpesvirus 3 (CyHV-3) has been proposed as a biological control (biocontrol) agent for invasive carp in Australia. Safety and efficacy are critical factors in assessing the suitability of biocontrol agents, and extensive host-specificity testing suggests that CyHV-3 is safe. Efficacy depends on the relationship between virus transmissibility and virulence. Based on observations from natural outbreaks, as well as the biology of virus-host interactions, we hypothesize that (i) close contact between carp provides the most efficient transmission of virus, (ii) transmission occurs at regular aggregations of carp that favour recrudescence of latent virus, and (iii) the initially high virulence of CyHV-3 will decline following its release in Australia. We also suggest that the evolution of carp resistance to CyHV-3 will likely necessitate the future release of progressively more virulent strains of CyHV-3, and/or an additional broad-scale measure(s) to complement the effect of the virus. If the release of CyHV-3 does go ahead, longitudinal studies are required to track the evolution of a virus-host relationship from its inception, and particularly the complex interplay between transmission, virulence and host resistance.
Hipsley, Christy A.; Müller, Johannes
Molecular-based divergence dating methods, or molecular clocks, are the primary neontological tool for estimating the temporal origins of clades. While the appropriate use of vertebrate fossils as external clock calibrations has stimulated heated discussions in the paleontological community, less attention has been given to the quality and implementation of other calibration types. In lieu of appropriate fossils, many studies rely on alternative sources of age constraints based on geological events, substitution rates and heterochronous sampling, as well as dates secondarily derived from previous analyses. To illustrate the breadth and frequency of calibration types currently employed, we conducted a literature survey of over 600 articles published from 2007 to 2013. Over half of all analyses implemented one or more fossil dates as constraints, followed by geological events and secondary calibrations (15% each). Vertebrate taxa were subjects in nearly half of all studies, while invertebrates and plants together accounted for 43%, followed by viruses, protists and fungi (3% each). Current patterns in calibration practices were disproportionate to the number of discussions on their proper use, particularly regarding plants and secondarily derived dates, which are both relatively neglected in methodological evaluations. Based on our survey, we provide a comprehensive overview of the latest approaches in clock calibration, and outline strengths and weaknesses associated with each. This critique should serve as a call to action for researchers across multiple communities, particularly those working on clades for which fossil records are poor, to develop their own guidelines regarding selection and implementation of alternative calibration types. This issue is particularly relevant now, as time-calibrated phylogenies are used for more than dating evolutionary origins, but often serve as the backbone of investigations into biogeography, diversity dynamics and rates of
Hipsley, Christy A; Müller, Johannes
Molecular-based divergence dating methods, or molecular clocks, are the primary neontological tool for estimating the temporal origins of clades. While the appropriate use of vertebrate fossils as external clock calibrations has stimulated heated discussions in the paleontological community, less attention has been given to the quality and implementation of other calibration types. In lieu of appropriate fossils, many studies rely on alternative sources of age constraints based on geological events, substitution rates and heterochronous sampling, as well as dates secondarily derived from previous analyses. To illustrate the breadth and frequency of calibration types currently employed, we conducted a literature survey of over 600 articles published from 2007 to 2013. Over half of all analyses implemented one or more fossil dates as constraints, followed by geological events and secondary calibrations (15% each). Vertebrate taxa were subjects in nearly half of all studies, while invertebrates and plants together accounted for 43%, followed by viruses, protists and fungi (3% each). Current patterns in calibration practices were disproportionate to the number of discussions on their proper use, particularly regarding plants and secondarily derived dates, which are both relatively neglected in methodological evaluations. Based on our survey, we provide a comprehensive overview of the latest approaches in clock calibration, and outline strengths and weaknesses associated with each. This critique should serve as a call to action for researchers across multiple communities, particularly those working on clades for which fossil records are poor, to develop their own guidelines regarding selection and implementation of alternative calibration types. This issue is particularly relevant now, as time-calibrated phylogenies are used for more than dating evolutionary origins, but often serve as the backbone of investigations into biogeography, diversity dynamics and rates of
Wang, Edwin; Zou, Jinfeng; Zaman, Naif; Beitel, Lenore K; Trifiro, Mark; Paliouras, Miltiadis
A tumor often consists of multiple cell subpopulations (clones). Current chemo-treatments often target one clone of a tumor. Although the drug kills that clone, other clones overtake it and the tumor recurs. Genome sequencing and computational analysis allows to computational dissection of clones from tumors, while singe-cell genome sequencing including RNA-Seq allows profiling of these clones. This opens a new window for treating a tumor as a system in which clones are evolving. Future cancer systems biology studies should consider a tumor as an evolving system with multiple clones. Therefore, topics discussed in Part 2 of this review include evolutionary dynamics of clonal networks, early-warning signals (e.g., genome duplication events) for formation of fast-growing clones, dissecting tumor heterogeneity, and modeling of clone-clone-stroma interactions for drug resistance. The ultimate goal of the future systems biology analysis is to obtain a 'whole-system' understanding of a tumor and therefore provides a more efficient and personalized management strategies for cancer patients.
Schrein, Caitlin M.
In the United States, there is a national agenda to increase the number of qualified science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) professionals and a movement to promote science literacy among the general public. This project explores the association between formal human evolutionary biology education (HEB) and high school science class…
Özpolat, B Duygu; Bely, Alexandra E
Studies of annelid regeneration have greatly increased in frequency in recent years, providing new insights into the developmental basis and evolution of regeneration. In this review, we summarize recent findings related to regeneration in annelids, focusing on molecular and developmental studies of epimorphic (blastema-based) regeneration, morphallactic (tissue-remodeling based) regeneration, and development and regeneration of putative stem cells of the posterior growth zone and germline. Regeneration is being investigated in a broad range of annelids spanning the phylum, and comparing findings among species reveals both widely conserved features that may be ancestral for the phylum as well as features that are variable across the group.
Federer, Meghan Rector; Nehm, Ross H.; Pearl, Dennis K.
Understanding sources of performance bias in science assessment provides important insights into whether science curricula and/or assessments are valid representations of student abilities. Research investigating assessment bias due to factors such as instrument structure, participant characteristics, and item types are well documented across a variety of disciplines. However, the relationships among these factors are unclear for tasks evaluating understanding through performance on scientific practices, such as explanation. Using item-response theory (Rasch analysis), we evaluated differences in performance by gender on a constructed-response (CR) assessment about natural selection (ACORNS). Three isomorphic item strands of the instrument were administered to a sample of undergraduate biology majors and nonmajors (Group 1: n = 662 [female = 51.6%]; G2: n = 184 [female = 55.9%]; G3: n = 642 [female = 55.1%]). Overall, our results identify relationships between item features and performance by gender; however, the effect is small in the majority of cases, suggesting that males and females tend to incorporate similar concepts into their CR explanations. These results highlight the importance of examining gender effects on performance in written assessment tasks in biology. PMID:26865642
Federer, Meghan Rector; Nehm, Ross H; Pearl, Dennis K
Understanding sources of performance bias in science assessment provides important insights into whether science curricula and/or assessments are valid representations of student abilities. Research investigating assessment bias due to factors such as instrument structure, participant characteristics, and item types are well documented across a variety of disciplines. However, the relationships among these factors are unclear for tasks evaluating understanding through performance on scientific practices, such as explanation. Using item-response theory (Rasch analysis), we evaluated differences in performance by gender on a constructed-response (CR) assessment about natural selection (ACORNS). Three isomorphic item strands of the instrument were administered to a sample of undergraduate biology majors and nonmajors (Group 1: n = 662 [female = 51.6%]; G2: n = 184 [female = 55.9%]; G3: n = 642 [female = 55.1%]). Overall, our results identify relationships between item features and performance by gender; however, the effect is small in the majority of cases, suggesting that males and females tend to incorporate similar concepts into their CR explanations. These results highlight the importance of examining gender effects on performance in written assessment tasks in biology.
Beutum, Monique Natalie; Cordier, Reinie; Bundy, Anita
The association between motor proficiency and moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) suggests children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) may be susceptible to inactivity-related conditions such as cardiovascular diseases. The aim of this study was to compare children with and without DCD on physical activity patterns, activity…
Standard developmental toxicology bioassays are designed to identify agents with the potential to induce adverse effects in the embryo/fetus. Guidelines call for the inclusion of a dose level(s) that induces “overt maternal toxicity.” The possibility that general maternal toxicit...
Baram-Tsabari, Ayelet; Yarden, Anat
Identifying students' interests in biology can play an important role in improving existing curricula to meet their needs. An analysis of 1,751 self-generated biological questions raised by children, adolescents, and adults yielded data regarding the different age groups' interests in biology. Research limitations and applications for teaching are…
Ricci, Claudia; Boschetti, Chiara
Bdelloid rotifers are suitable model systems for space experiments. Due to their developmental pattern they appear adequate to investigate the role of the cytoskeleton during oogenesis and during early developmental stages, and to reflect the effects of disturbances in the spatial arrangement of cytoskeletal components. The effect of weightlessness on the developmental pattern of a bdelloid rotifer will be studied in the International Space Station: in preparation for it we are performing ground-based experiments on the development of rotifer embryos under either increased or decreased gravity. The model studied is Macrotrachela quadricornifera, a species of rotifers belonging to the Bdelloidea class. Samples exposed to gravity disturbance were analyzed for morphology and fitness-related parameters. Rotifers were exposed over several days to altered gravity conditions and the morphology of eggs laid during this period were investigated using a confocal laser microscope. A subset of eggs was allowed to hatch to determine newborn developmental time and age at maturity. High (up to 20 g) gravity was obtained in a slow centrifuge suitable for animal cultivation over several days. To produce low (simulated 0.0001 g) gravity a Random Positioning Machine equipped with a 'rotifer bioreactor' was used. Under all conditions the rotifer retained normal life-history traits, and did not show permanent changes in embryo morphology, regardless to the stresses to which it was exposed. Only some modification of the shape of early embryos, experiencing 20 g, has been noted, but later developmental stages appeared unaffected, and normal juveniles hatched. Whether this result indicates any capacity to repair damage during embryogenesis of these Spiralia experiencing 20 g is an open question. The significance of the result as well as the use of instruments to simulate gravity perturbations are discussed.
Inward, Daegan J G; Vogler, Alfried P; Eggleton, Paul
The first comprehensive combined molecular and morphological phylogenetic analysis of the major groups of termites is presented. This was based on the analysis of three genes (cytochrome oxidase II, 12S and 28S) and worker characters for approximately 250 species of termites. Parsimony analysis of the aligned dataset showed that the monophyly of Hodotermitidae, Kalotermitidae and Termitidae were well supported, while Termopsidae and Rhinotermitidae were both paraphyletic on the estimated cladogram. Within Termitidae, the most diverse and ecologically most important family, the monophyly of Macrotermitinae, Foraminitermitinae, Apicotermitinae, Syntermitinae and Nasutitermitinae were all broadly supported, but Termitinae was paraphyletic. The pantropical genera Termes, Amitermes and Nasutitermes were all paraphyletic on the estimated cladogram, with at least 17 genera nested within Nasutitermes, given the presently accepted generic limits. Key biological features were mapped onto the cladogram. It was not possible to reconstruct the evolution of true workers unambiguously, as it was as parsimonious to assume a basal evolution of true workers and subsequent evolution of pseudergates, as to assume a basal condition of pseudergates and subsequent evolution of true workers. However, true workers were only found in species with either separate- or intermediate-type nests, so that the mapping of nest habit and worker type onto the cladogram were perfectly correlated. Feeding group evolution, however, showed a much more complex pattern, particularly within the Termitidae, where it proved impossible to estimate unambiguously the ancestral state within the family (which is associated with the loss of worker gut flagellates). However, one biologically plausible optimization implies an initial evolution from wood-feeding to fungus-growing, proposed as the ancestral condition within the Termitidae, followed by the very early evolution of soil-feeding and subsequent re
Consistent holistic view of sexual species as the highest form of biological existence is presented. The Weismann's idea that sex and recombination provide the variation for the natural selection to act upon is dominated in most discussions of the biological meaning of the sexual reproduction. Here, the idea is substantiated that the main advantage of sex is the opposite: the ability to counteract not only extinction but further evolution as well. Living systems live long owing to their ability to reproduce themselves with a high fidelity. Simple organisms (like bacteria) reach the continued existence due to the high fidelity of individual genome replication. In organisms with a large genome and complex development, the achievable fidelity of DNA replication is not enough for the precise reproduction of the genome. Such species must be capable of surviving and must remain unchanged in spite of the continuous changes of their genes. This problem has no solution in the frame of asexual ("homeogenomic") lineages. They would rapidly degrade and become extinct or blurred out in the course of the reckless evolution. The core outcome of the transition to sexual reproduction was the creation of multiorganismic entity - biological species. Individual organisms forfeited their ability to reproduce autonomously. It implies that individual organisms forfeited their ability to substantive evolution. They evolve as a part of the biological species. In case of obligatory sexuality, there is no such a thing as synchronic multi-level selection. Natural selection cannot select anything that is not a unit of reproduction. Hierarchy in biology implies the functional predestination of the parts for the sake of the whole. A crucial feature of the sexual reproduction is the formation of genomes of individual organisms by random picking them over from the continuously shuffled gene pool instead of the direct replication of the ancestor's genome. A clear anti-evolutionary consequence of
Dahdul, Wasila M.; Balhoff, James P.; Engeman, Jeffrey; Grande, Terry; Hilton, Eric J.; Kothari, Cartik; Lapp, Hilmar; Lundberg, John G.; Midford, Peter E.; Vision, Todd J.; Westerfield, Monte; Mabee, Paula M.
Background The wealth of phenotypic descriptions documented in the published articles, monographs, and dissertations of phylogenetic systematics is traditionally reported in a free-text format, and it is therefore largely inaccessible for linkage to biological databases for genetics, development, and phenotypes, and difficult to manage for large-scale integrative work. The Phenoscape project aims to represent these complex and detailed descriptions with rich and formal semantics that are amenable to computation and integration with phenotype data from other fields of biology. This entails reconceptualizing the traditional free-text characters into the computable Entity-Quality (EQ) formalism using ontologies. Methodology/Principal Findings We used ontologies and the EQ formalism to curate a collection of 47 phylogenetic studies on ostariophysan fishes (including catfishes, characins, minnows, knifefishes) and their relatives with the goal of integrating these complex phenotype descriptions with information from an existing model organism database (zebrafish, http://zfin.org). We developed a curation workflow for the collection of character, taxonomic and specimen data from these publications. A total of 4,617 phenotypic characters (10,512 states) for 3,449 taxa, primarily species, were curated into EQ formalism (for a total of 12,861 EQ statements) using anatomical and taxonomic terms from teleost-specific ontologies (Teleost Anatomy Ontology and Teleost Taxonomy Ontology) in combination with terms from a quality ontology (Phenotype and Trait Ontology). Standards and guidelines for consistently and accurately representing phenotypes were developed in response to the challenges that were evident from two annotation experiments and from feedback from curators. Conclusions/Significance The challenges we encountered and many of the curation standards and methods for improving consistency that we developed are generally applicable to any effort to represent phenotypes
Zheng, Yan; Li, Hong; Wang, Yue; Meng, Hu; Zhang, Qiang; Zhao, Xiaoqing
The rules of k-mer non-random usage and the biological functions are worthy of special attention. Firstly, the article studied human 8-mer spectra and found that only the spectra of cytosine-guanine (CG) dinucleotide classification formed independent unimodal distributions when the 8-mers were classified into three subsets under 16 dinucleotide classifications. Secondly, the distribution rules were reproduced by other seven species including yeast, which showed that the evolution phenomenon had species universality. It followed that we proposed two theoretical conjectures: (1) CG1 motifs (8-mers including 1 CG) are the nucleosome-binding motifs. (2) CG2 motifs (8-mers including two or more than two CG) are the modular units of CpG islands. Our conjectures were confirmed in yeast by the following results: a maximum of average area under the receiver operating characteristic (AUC) resulted from CG1 information during nucleosome core sequences, and linker sequences were distinguished by three CG subsets; there was a one-to-one relationship between abundant CG1 signal regions and histone positions; the sequence changing of squeezed nucleosomes was relevant with the strength of CG1 signals; and the AUC value of 0.986 was based on CG2 information when CpG islands and non-CpG islands were distinguished by the three CG subsets.
Novick, Laura R.; Catley, Kefyn M.
The ability to interpret and reason from Tree of Life (ToL) diagrams has become a vital component of science literacy in the 21st century. This article reports on the effectiveness of a research-based curriculum, including an instructional booklet, laboratory, and lectures, to teach the fundamentals of such tree thinking in an introductory biology class for science majors. We present the results of a study involving 117 undergraduates who received either our new research-based tree-thinking curriculum or business-as-usual instruction. We found greater gains in tree-thinking abilities for the experimental instruction group than for the business-as-usual group, as measured by performance on our novel assessment instrument. This was a medium size effect. These gains were observed on an unannounced test that was administered ∼5–6 weeks after the primary instruction in tree thinking. The nature of students’ postinstruction difficulties with tree thinking suggests that the critical underlying concept for acquiring expert-level competence in this area is understanding that any specific phylogenetic tree is a subset of the complete, unimaginably large ToL. PMID:27881445
Novick, Laura R; Catley, Kefyn M
The ability to interpret and reason from Tree of Life (ToL) diagrams has become a vital component of science literacy in the 21st century. This article reports on the effectiveness of a research-based curriculum, including an instructional booklet, laboratory, and lectures, to teach the fundamentals of such tree thinking in an introductory biology class for science majors. We present the results of a study involving 117 undergraduates who received either our new research-based tree-thinking curriculum or business-as-usual instruction. We found greater gains in tree-thinking abilities for the experimental instruction group than for the business-as-usual group, as measured by performance on our novel assessment instrument. This was a medium size effect. These gains were observed on an unannounced test that was administered ∼5-6 weeks after the primary instruction in tree thinking. The nature of students' postinstruction difficulties with tree thinking suggests that the critical underlying concept for acquiring expert-level competence in this area is understanding that any specific phylogenetic tree is a subset of the complete, unimaginably large ToL.
Chandra, Govind; Chater, Keith F
To illuminate the evolution and mechanisms of actinobacterial complexity, we evaluate the distribution and origins of known Streptomyces developmental genes and the developmental significance of actinobacteria-specific genes. As an aid, we developed the Actinoblast database of reciprocal blastp best hits between the Streptomyces coelicolor genome and more than 100 other actinobacterial genomes (http://streptomyces.org.uk/actinoblast/). We suggest that the emergence of morphological complexity was underpinned by special features of early actinobacteria, such as polar growth and the coupled participation of regulatory Wbl proteins and the redox-protecting thiol mycothiol in transducing a transient nitric oxide signal generated during physiologically stressful growth transitions. It seems that some cell growth and division proteins of early actinobacteria have acquired greater importance for sporulation of complex actinobacteria than for mycelial growth, in which septa are infrequent and not associated with complete cell separation. The acquisition of extracellular proteins with structural roles, a highly regulated extracellular protease cascade, and additional regulatory genes allowed early actinobacterial stationary phase processes to be redeployed in the emergence of aerial hyphae from mycelial mats and in the formation of spore chains. These extracellular proteins may have contributed to speciation. Simpler members of morphologically diverse clades have lost some developmental genes. PMID:24164321
Erziehung in einer biologisch determinierten Welt--Herausforderung fur die Theoriebildung einer Evolutionaren Padagogik aus Biologischer Perspektive (Education in a Biologically Determined World--A Challenge for a Theory of Evolutionary Pedagogics from a Biological Point of View).
Voland, Eckart; Voland, Renate
Designates four challenges for a theory of evolutionary pedagogics which result from the theoretical progress made in biological science: (1) subjectively perceived autonomy; (2) teachability; (3) preparation for future life; and (4) the reality norm dilemma. Argues that these confrontations are the theoretical challenges for the further…
We now have a wealth of information about the molecular signals that act on cells in embryos, but how do the control systems based on these signals generate pattern and govern the timing of developmental events? Here, I discuss four examples to show how mathematical modeling and quantitative experimentation can give some useful answers. The examples concern the Bicoid gradient in the early Drosophila embryo, the dorsoventral patterning of a frog embryo by bone morphogenetic protein signals, the auxin-mediated patterning of plant meristems, and the Notch-dependent somite segmentation clock.
Green, Jeremy B A; Sharpe, James
One of the most fundamental questions in biology is that of biological pattern: how do the structures and shapes of organisms arise? Undoubtedly, the two most influential ideas in this area are those of Alan Turing's 'reaction-diffusion' and Lewis Wolpert's 'positional information'. Much has been written about these two concepts but some confusion still remains, in particular about the relationship between them. Here, we address this relationship and propose a scheme of three distinct ways in which these two ideas work together to shape biological form.
Hagen, Joel B
Bergmann's rule and Allen's rule played important roles in mid-twentieth century discussions of adaptation, variation, and geographical distribution. Although inherited from the nineteenth-century natural history tradition these rules gained significance during the consolidation of the modern synthesis as evolutionary theorists focused attention on populations as units of evolution. For systematists, the rules provided a compelling rationale for identifying geographical races or subspecies, a function that was also picked up by some physical anthropologists. More generally, the rules provided strong evidence for adaptation by natural selection. Supporters of the rules tacitly, or often explicitly, assumed that the clines described by the rules reflected adaptations for thermoregulation. This assumption was challenged by the physiologists Laurence Irving and Per Scholander based on their arctic research conducted after World War II. Their critique spurred a controversy played out in a series of articles in Evolution, in Ernst Mayr's Animal Species and Evolution, and in the writings of other prominent evolutionary biologists and physical anthropologists. Considering this episode highlights the complexity and ambiguity of important biological concepts such as adaptation, homeostasis, and self-regulation. It also demonstrates how different disciplinary orientations and styles of scientific research influenced evolutionary explanations, and the consequent difficulties of constructing a truly synthetic evolutionary biology in the decades immediately following World War II.
Chin, Alvin J; Saint-Jeannet, Jean-Pierre; Lo, Cecilia W
To illustrate the impact developmental biology and genetics have already had on the clinical management of the million infants born worldwide each year with CHD, we have chosen three stories which have had particular relevance for pediatric cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, cardiac anesthesiologists, and cardiac nurses. First, we show how Margaret Kirby's finding of the unexpected contribution of an ectodermal cell population - the cranial neural crest - to the aortic arch arteries and arterial pole of the embryonic avian heart provided a key impetus to the field of cardiovascular patterning. Recognition that a majority of patients affected by the neurocristopathy DiGeorge syndrome have a chromosome 22q11 deletion, have also spurred tremendous efforts to characterize the molecular mechanisms contributing to this pathology, assigning a major role to the transcription factor Tbx1. Second, synthesizing the work of the last two decades by many laboratories on a wide gamut of metazoans (invertebrates, tunicates, agnathans, teleosts, lungfish, amphibians, and amniotes), we review the >20 major modifications and additions to the ancient circulatory arrangement composed solely of a unicameral (one-chambered), contractile myocardial tube and a short proximal aorta. Two changes will be discussed in detail - the interposition of a second cardiac chamber in the circulation and the septation of the cardiac ventricle. By comparing the developmental genetic data of several model organisms, we can better understand the origin of the various components of the multicameral (multi-chambered) heart seen in humans. Third, Martina Brueckner's discovery that a faulty axonemal dynein was responsible for the phenotype of the iv/iv mouse (the first mammalian model of human heterotaxy) focused attention on the biology of cilia. We discuss how even the care of the complex cardiac and non-cardiac anomalies seen in heterotaxy syndrome, which have long seemed impervious to advancements in
Ross, M. D.; Donovan, K. M.
This paper reviews previous findings and introduces new material about otolith end organs that help us to understand their functioning and development. In particular, we consider the end organs as biological accelerometers. The otoconia are dealt with as test masses whose substructure and evolutionary trend toward calcite may prove significant in understanding formation requirements. Space-flight helps illuminate the influence of gravity, while right-left asymmetry is suggested by study of certain rat strains.
A Unifying Mathematical Framework for Genetic Robustness, Environmental Robustness, Network Robustness and their Trade-off on Phenotype Robustness in Biological Networks Part I: Gene Regulatory Networks in Systems and Evolutionary Biology.
Chen, Bor-Sen; Lin, Ying-Po
Robust stabilization and environmental disturbance attenuation are ubiquitous systematic properties observed in biological systems at different levels. The underlying principles for robust stabilization and environmental disturbance attenuation are universal to both complex biological systems and sophisticated engineering systems. In many biological networks, network robustness should be enough to confer intrinsic robustness in order to tolerate intrinsic parameter fluctuations, genetic robustness for buffering genetic variations, and environmental robustness for resisting environmental disturbances. With this, the phenotypic stability of biological network can be maintained, thus guaranteeing phenotype robustness. This paper presents a survey on biological systems and then develops a unifying mathematical framework for investigating the principles of both robust stabilization and environmental disturbance attenuation in systems and evolutionary biology. Further, from the unifying mathematical framework, it was discovered that the phenotype robustness criterion for biological networks at different levels relies upon intrinsic robustness + genetic robustness + environmental robustness ≦ network robustness. When this is true, the phenotype robustness can be maintained in spite of intrinsic parameter fluctuations, genetic variations, and environmental disturbances. Therefore, the trade-offs between intrinsic robustness, genetic robustness, environmental robustness, and network robustness in systems and evolutionary biology can also be investigated through their corresponding phenotype robustness criterion from the systematic point of view.
Diederich, Kirsten Bakke
In response to the declining number of students in the United States entering into the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) disciplines, there has been an attempt to retain student interest in the sciences through the implementation of more active learning in the classroom. Active learning is defined as any instructional method that requires students do something in the classroom rather than simply listen to a lecture (Herreid, 2006). These student centered approaches provide the students with the opportunity to work cooperatively while developing the skills required for critical inquiry. They also help the students make the connections between what is being taught and how it can be applied in a real world setting. Science education researchers have attempted to analyze the efficacy of active learning. Although they find it difficult to compare the data, they state unequivocally that "Active learning is a better strategy for learning than the traditional didactic lecture format" (Prince, 2004). However, even though research supports the efficacy of active learning, instructors find it difficult to adopt this pedagogy into their classrooms due to concerns such as loss of content knowledge and student resistance. This three year qualitative and quantitative study addressed the level of student learning and satisfaction in an introductory vertebrate biology class at a small liberal arts college. The courses were taught by the same instructor using three pedagogical methods; traditional lecture (TL), problem-based learning (PBL), and case-based learning (CBL). Student grades and levels of assessment were compared between the TL and PBL, while student attrition rates, course satisfaction and views of active and group learning were analyzed across all three sections. The evolutionary confirmations from TL to PBL and ultimately the adoption of CBL as the method of choice are discussed from the view of both the faculty member and the students.
Walsh, Christopher A.; Engle, Elizabeth C.
One of the biggest challenges in neuroscience is illuminating the architecture of developmental brain disorders, which include structural malformations of the brain and nerves, intellectual disability, epilepsy, as well as some psychiatric conditions like autism and potentially schizophrenia. Ongoing gene identification reveals a great diversity of genetic causes underlying abnormal brain development, illuminating new biochemical pathways often not suspected based on genetic studies in other organisms. Our greater understanding of genetic disease also shows the complexity of “allelic diversity”, in which distinct mutations in a given gene can cause a wide range of distinct diseases or other phenotypes. These diverse alleles not only provide a platform for discovery of critical protein-protein interactions in a genetic fashion, but also illuminate the likely genetic architecture of as yet poorly characterized neurological disorders. PMID:20955932
Redolfi, I.; Campos, M.
Elasmus steffani (Viggiani) (Hymenoptera: Elasmidae) is a gregarious idiobiont ectoparasitoid of Prays oleae (Bernard) (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae), an olive crop pest. In the substitute host Ephestia kuehniella (Zeller) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), the duration of the developmental stages was approximately 11–15 days. The preoviposition was 8.9 ± 5.0 days, and oviposition lasted 30.4 ± 10.5 days, with a reproduction capacity of 185.5 ± 62.3 eggs per female, for a mean of 5.4 ± 0.9 eggs per day. The oviposition rhythm reached its maximum when the parasitoid was 35 days of age. The lack of food negatively influenced survival of the adults, while those fed on a honey-water mixture lived significantly longer that those that also had access to a host as food. The female parasitoid fed upon 15% of the paralyzed larvae. The virgin female E. steffani exhibits arrhenotokic parthenogenesis. PMID:20874600
Moore, David; Pukkila, Patricia J.
Ink-cap mushrooms can be easily grown in culture and provide students with ideal material for studying a wide range of biological problems. The life cycle is discussed extensively with hints for inoculating plates, staining, and isolating basidiospores. Exercises are easy, safe, and provide opportunity to demonstrate several microbiological…
Southard, Ashton C.; Zeigler-Hill, Virgil; Shackelford, Todd K.
Yair Neuman  presents many provocative ideas in his interdisciplinary approach to human personality. In this commentary, we focus on his ideas regarding (1) the evolutionary basis of personality and (2) human sperm competition.
Gluckman, Peter D; Low, Felicia M; Buklijas, Tatjana; Hanson, Mark A; Beedle, Alan S
An appreciation of the fundamental principles of evolutionary biology provides new insights into major diseases and enables an integrated understanding of human biology and medicine. However, there is a lack of awareness of their importance amongst physicians, medical researchers, and educators, all of whom tend to focus on the mechanistic (proximate) basis for disease, excluding consideration of evolutionary (ultimate) reasons. The key principles of evolutionary medicine are that selection acts on fitness, not health or longevity; that our evolutionary history does not cause disease, but rather impacts on our risk of disease in particular environments; and that we are now living in novel environments compared to those in which we evolved. We consider these evolutionary principles in conjunction with population genetics and describe several pathways by which evolutionary processes can affect disease risk. These perspectives provide a more cohesive framework for gaining insights into the determinants of health and disease. Coupled with complementary insights offered by advances in genomic, epigenetic, and developmental biology research, evolutionary perspectives offer an important addition to understanding disease. Further, there are a number of aspects of evolutionary medicine that can add considerably to studies in other domains of contemporary evolutionary studies. PMID:25567971
Spencer Adams, Dany; Lemire, Joan M; Kramer, Richard H; Levin, Michael
Developmental bioelectricity, electrical signaling among non-excitable cells, is now known to regulate proliferation, apoptosis, gene expression, and patterning during development. The extraordinary temporal and spatial resolution offered by optogenetics could revolutionize the study of bioelectricity the same way it has revolutionized neuroscience. There is, however, no guide to adapting optogenetics to patterning systems. To fill this gap, we used optogenetic reagents, both proteins and photochemical switches, to vary steady-state bioelectrical properties of non-spiking embryonic cells in Xenopus laevis. We injected mRNA for various proteins, including Channelrhodopsins and Archaerhodopsin, into 1-8 cell embryos, or soaked embryos in media containing photochemical switches, then examined the effect of light and dark on membrane voltage (Vmem) using both electrodes and fluorescent membrane voltage reporters. We also scored tadpoles for known effects of varying Vmem, including left-right asymmetry disruption, hyperpigmentation, and craniofacial phenotypes. The majority of reagents we tested caused a significant increase in the percentage of light-exposed tadpoles showing relevant phenotypes; however, the majority of reagents also induced phenotypes in controls kept in the dark. Experiments on this "dark phenotype" yielded evidence that the direction of ion flux via common optogenetic reagents may be reversed, or unpredictable in non-neural cells. When used in combination with rigorous controls, optogenetics can be a powerful tool for investigating ion-flux based signaling in non-excitable systems. Nonetheless, it is crucial that new reagents be designed with these non-neural cell types in mind.
Diogo, Rui; Ziermann, Janine M; Linde-Medina, Marta
, or the strepsirrhines and lemurs within the Primates, for instance. This review will contribute to improving our understanding of these broad evolutionary issues and of the evolution of the vertebrate Bauplans, and hopefully will stimulate future phylogenetic, evolutionary and developmental studies of these clades.
Rosati, Alexandra G; Wobber, Victoria; Hughes, Kelly; Santos, Laurie R
The fields of developmental and comparative psychology both seek to illuminate the roots of adult cognitive systems. Developmental studies target the emergence of adult cognitive systems over ontogenetic time, whereas comparative studies investigate the origins of human cognition in our evolutionary history. Despite the long tradition of research in both of these areas, little work has examined the intersection of the two: the study of cognitive development in a comparative perspective. In the current article, we review recent work using this comparative developmental approach to study non-human primate cognition. We argue that comparative data on the pace and pattern of cognitive development across species can address major theoretical questions in both psychology and biology. In particular, such integrative research will allow stronger biological inferences about the function of developmental change, and will be critical in addressing how humans come to acquire species-unique cognitive abilities.
D'Costa, Allison; Shepherd, Iain T
We have taken advantage of the strengths of the zebrafish model system to introduce developmental biology and genetics to undergraduates in their second semester of the Introductory Biology course at Emory. We designed a 6-week laboratory module based on research being undertaken by faculty in the department, and incorporated experiments that used current research methods including bioinformatics. Students undertook a range of experiments including direct observation of live wild-type zebrafish at different stages of embryogenesis, whole-mount in situ hybridization of mutant and wild-type embryos, vital dye staining of mutant and wild-type embryos, and pharmacological treatments to perturb normal development. These laboratories engaged the students by providing a hands-on, research-centered experience, while also enhancing their written (worksheets and laboratory reports) and oral (group presentation) communication skills. We describe the proceedings of each lab and the logistics of preparing and running these labs for 400-500 students (120 students taking lab each day), and provide a preliminary assessment of the success of the laboratories data based on student evaluations.
Miwa, Kentaro; Meinke, Lance J
The chrysomelid beetle Colaspis crinicornis Schaeffer (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) occurs primarily in the Great Plains region of the United States. Little is known about the biology and ecology of this species, but over the last decade, it has become increasingly common in the corn, Zea mays L., and soybean, Glycine max (L.) Merrill, agroecosystem of southeastern Nebraska. As part of a larger comprehensive project to understand the natural history and pest potential of this species, laboratory experiments were conducted to study the developmental biology, morphological characters of immature stages, and the effect of adult diet on consumption, longevity, and fecundity. Females readily deposited egg clusters in the soil, and percentage egg hatch was high under laboratory conditions. Larvae and pupae were confirmed to be soil-dwelling stages. C. crinicornis has relatively short egg, pupal, and adult stages with the majority of its life cycle spent in the larval stage. Results of choice and no-choice adult feeding experiments indicate that diets of corn or soybean leaves did not significantly affect consumption, longevity, or fecundity of adult C. crinicornis, suggesting that corn and soybean leaves are similarly suitable food sources for adults. The ability to effectively utilize tissues from very different plant families as adult food sources suggests that C. crinicornis is polyphagous in the field.
Shinde, Vaibhav; Klima, Stefanie; Sureshkumar, Perumal Srinivasan; Meganathan, Kesavan; Jagtap, Smita; Rempel, Eugen; Rahnenführer, Jörg; Hengstler, Jan Georg; Waldmann, Tanja; Hescheler, Jürgen; Leist, Marcel; Sachinidis, Agapios
Efficient protocols to differentiate human pluripotent stem cells to various tissues in combination with -omics technologies opened up new horizons for in vitro toxicity testing of potential drugs. To provide a solid scientific basis for such assays, it will be important to gain quantitative information on the time course of development and on the underlying regulatory mechanisms by systems biology approaches. Two assays have therefore been tuned here for these requirements. In the UKK test system, human embryonic stem cells (hESC) (or other pluripotent cells) are left to spontaneously differentiate for 14 days in embryoid bodies, to allow generation of cells of all three germ layers. This system recapitulates key steps of early human embryonic development, and it can predict human-specific early embryonic toxicity/teratogenicity, if cells are exposed to chemicals during differentiation. The UKN1 test system is based on hESC differentiating to a population of neuroectodermal progenitor (NEP) cells for 6 days. This system recapitulates early neural development and predicts early developmental neurotoxicity and epigenetic changes triggered by chemicals. Both systems, in combination with transcriptome microarray studies, are suitable for identifying toxicity biomarkers. Moreover, they may be used in combination to generate input data for systems biology analysis. These test systems have advantages over the traditional toxicological studies requiring large amounts of animals. The test systems may contribute to a reduction of the costs for drug development and chemical safety evaluation. Their combination sheds light especially on compounds that may influence neurodevelopment specifically.
Higdon, Charles W; Mitra, Robi D; Johnson, Stephen L
In order to facilitate understanding of pigment cell biology, we developed a method to concomitantly purify melanocytes, iridophores, and retinal pigmented epithelium from zebrafish, and analyzed their transcriptomes. Comparing expression data from these cell types and whole embryos allowed us to reveal gene expression co-enrichment in melanocytes and retinal pigmented epithelium, as well as in melanocytes and iridophores. We found 214 genes co-enriched in melanocytes and retinal pigmented epithelium, indicating the shared functions of melanin-producing cells. We found 62 genes significantly co-enriched in melanocytes and iridophores, illustrative of their shared developmental origins from the neural crest. This is also the first analysis of the iridophore transcriptome. Gene expression analysis for iridophores revealed extensive enrichment of specific enzymes to coordinate production of their guanine-based reflective pigment. We speculate the coordinated upregulation of specific enzymes from several metabolic pathways recycles the rate-limiting substrate for purine synthesis, phosphoribosyl pyrophosphate, thus constituting a guanine cycle. The purification procedure and expression analysis described here, along with the accompanying transcriptome-wide expression data, provide the first mRNA sequencing data for multiple purified zebrafish pigment cell types, and will be a useful resource for further studies of pigment cell biology.
Miwa, Kentaro; Meinke, Lance J.
The chrysomelid beetle Colaspis crinicornis Schaeffer (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) occurs primarily in the Great Plains region of the United States. Little is known about the biology and ecology of this species, but over the last decade, it has become increasingly common in the corn, Zea mays L., and soybean, Glycine max (L.) Merrill, agroecosystem of southeastern Nebraska. As part of a larger comprehensive project to understand the natural history and pest potential of this species, laboratory experiments were conducted to study the developmental biology, morphological characters of immature stages, and the effect of adult diet on consumption, longevity, and fecundity. Females readily deposited egg clusters in the soil, and percentage egg hatch was high under laboratory conditions. Larvae and pupae were confirmed to be soil-dwelling stages. C. crinicornis has relatively short egg, pupal, and adult stages with the majority of its life cycle spent in the larval stage. Results of choice and no-choice adult feeding experiments indicate that diets of corn or soybean leaves did not significantly affect consumption, longevity, or fecundity of adult C. crinicornis, suggesting that corn and soybean leaves are similarly suitable food sources for adults. The ability to effectively utilize tissues from very different plant families as adult food sources suggests that C. crinicornis is polyphagous in the field. PMID:26106090
Moore, John A.; And Others
This fourth volume of the Science as a Way of Knowing project contains 12 papers given at a conference in 1986 which was cosponsored by a variety of scientific and science education organizations. The presentations include: (1) "Science as a Way of Knowing--Developmental Biology" (John A. Moore); (2) "Embryonic Induction"…
Nesse, Randolph M.; Ganten, Detlev; Gregory, T. Ryan; Omenn, Gilbert S.
Evolution has long provided a foundation for population genetics, but many major advances in evolutionary biology from the 20th century are only now being applied in molecular medicine. They include the distinction between proximate and evolutionary explanations, kin selection, evolutionary models for cooperation, and new strategies for tracing phylogenies and identifying signals of selection. Recent advances in genomics are further transforming evolutionary biology and creating yet more opportunities for progress at the interface of evolution with genetics, medicine, and public health. This article reviews 15 evolutionary principles and their applications in molecular medicine in hopes that readers will use them and others to speed the development of evolutionary molecular medicine. PMID:22544168
Bolhuis, Johan J.; Brown, Gillian R.; Richardson, Robert C.; Laland, Kevin N.
Evolutionary Psychology (EP) views the human mind as organized into many modules, each underpinned by psychological adaptations designed to solve problems faced by our Pleistocene ancestors. We argue that the key tenets of the established EP paradigm require modification in the light of recent findings from a number of disciplines, including human genetics, evolutionary biology, cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, and paleoecology. For instance, many human genes have been subject to recent selective sweeps; humans play an active, constructive role in co-directing their own development and evolution; and experimental evidence often favours a general process, rather than a modular account, of cognition. A redefined EP could use the theoretical insights of modern evolutionary biology as a rich source of hypotheses concerning the human mind, and could exploit novel methods from a variety of adjacent research fields. PMID:21811401
Groothuis, Ton G G; Taborsky, Barbara
There is increasing attention for integrating mechanistic and functional approaches to the study of (behavioural) development. As environments are mostly unstable, it is now often assumed that genetic parental information is in many cases not sufficient for offspring to become optimally adapted to the environment and that early environmental cues, either indirectly via the parents or from direct experience, are necessary to prepare them for a specific environment later in life. To study whether these early developmental processes are adaptive and through which mechanism, not only the early environmental cues but also how they impinge on the later-life environmental context has therefore to be taken into account when measuring the animal's performance. We first discuss at the conceptual level six ways in which interactions between influences of different time windows during development may act (consolidation, cumulative information gathering and priming, compensation, buffering, matching and mismatching, context dependent trait expression). In addition we discuss how different environmental factors during the same time window may interact in shaping the phenotype during development. Next we discuss the pros and cons of several experimental designs for testing these interaction effects, highlighting the necessity for full, reciprocal designs and the importance of adjusting the nature and time of manipulation to the animal's adaptive capacity. We then review support for the interaction effects from both theoretical models and animal experiments in different taxa. This demonstrates indeed the existence of interactions at multiple levels, including different environmental factors, different time windows and between generations. As a consequence, development is a life-long, environment-dependent process and therefore manipulating only the early environment without taking interaction effects with other and later environmental influences into account may lead to wrong
There is increasing attention for integrating mechanistic and functional approaches to the study of (behavioural) development. As environments are mostly unstable, it is now often assumed that genetic parental information is in many cases not sufficient for offspring to become optimally adapted to the environment and that early environmental cues, either indirectly via the parents or from direct experience, are necessary to prepare them for a specific environment later in life. To study whether these early developmental processes are adaptive and through which mechanism, not only the early environmental cues but also how they impinge on the later-life environmental context has therefore to be taken into account when measuring the animal's performance. We first discuss at the conceptual level six ways in which interactions between influences of different time windows during development may act (consolidation, cumulative information gathering and priming, compensation, buffering, matching and mismatching, context dependent trait expression). In addition we discuss how different environmental factors during the same time window may interact in shaping the phenotype during development. Next we discuss the pros and cons of several experimental designs for testing these interaction effects, highlighting the necessity for full, reciprocal designs and the importance of adjusting the nature and time of manipulation to the animal's adaptive capacity. We then review support for the interaction effects from both theoretical models and animal experiments in different taxa. This demonstrates indeed the existence of interactions at multiple levels, including different environmental factors, different time windows and between generations. As a consequence, development is a life-long, environment-dependent process and therefore manipulating only the early environment without taking interaction effects with other and later environmental influences into account may lead to wrong
Verma, Rohit; Balhara, Yatan Pal Singh; Gupta, Chandra Shekhar
Stress response is associated with manifestations of various psychosomatic and psychiatric disorders. Hence, it is important to understand the underlying mechanisms that influence this association. Moreover, men and women tend to react differently with stress–both psychologically and biologically. These differences also need to be studied in order to have a better understanding in the gender difference observed for many disorders, which are likely to be contributed by the gender difference in stress reactivity and responses. Such an understanding would have a significant impact on our understanding about how adult health is set during early life and how adult disease could be prevented in men and women. PMID:22969173
Carskadon, Mary A; Tarokh, Leila
Adolescent development includes changes in the biological regulatory processes for the timing of sleep. Circadian rhythm changes and changes to the sleep-pressure system (sleep homeostasis) during adolescence both favor later timing of sleep. These changes, combined with prevailing social pressures, are responsible for most teens sleeping too late and too little; those who sleep least report consuming more caffeine. Although direct research findings are scarce, the likelihood of use and abuse of caffeine-laden products grows across the adolescent years due, in part, to excessive sleepiness.
Madhuri, Marga; Broussard, Christine
One of the greatest challenges instructors face is getting students to connect with the subject in a manner that encourages them to learn. In this essay, we describe the redesign of our Developmental Biology course to foster a deeper connection between students and the field of developmental biology. In our approach, we created a community of…
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. PMID:24882813
Erwin, Genevieve D; Oksenberg, Nir; Truty, Rebecca M; Kostka, Dennis; Murphy, Karl K; Ahituv, Nadav; Pollard, Katherine S; Capra, John A
Gene-regulatory enhancers have been identified using various approaches, including evolutionary conservation, regulatory protein binding, chromatin modifications, and DNA sequence motifs. To integrate these different approaches, we developed EnhancerFinder, a two-step method for distinguishing developmental enhancers from the genomic background and then predicting their tissue specificity. EnhancerFinder uses a multiple kernel learning approach to integrate DNA sequence motifs, evolutionary patterns, and diverse functional genomics datasets from a variety of cell types. In contrast with prediction approaches that define enhancers based on histone marks or p300 sites from a single cell line, we trained EnhancerFinder on hundreds of experimentally verified human developmental enhancers from the VISTA Enhancer Browser. We comprehensively evaluated EnhancerFinder using cross validation and found that our integrative method improves the identification of enhancers over approaches that consider a single type of data, such as sequence motifs, evolutionary conservation, or the binding of enhancer-associated proteins. We find that VISTA enhancers active in embryonic heart are easier to identify than enhancers active in several other embryonic tissues, likely due to their uniquely high GC content. We applied EnhancerFinder to the entire human genome and predicted 84,301 developmental enhancers and their tissue specificity. These predictions provide specific functional annotations for large amounts of human non-coding DNA, and are significantly enriched near genes with annotated roles in their predicted tissues and lead SNPs from genome-wide association studies. We demonstrate the utility of EnhancerFinder predictions through in vivo validation of novel embryonic gene regulatory enhancers from three developmental transcription factor loci. Our genome-wide developmental enhancer predictions are freely available as a UCSC Genome Browser track, which we hope will enable
Nomarski's differential interference contrast (DIC) microscopy is discussed in comparison to Zernike's phase contrast (PhC) microscopy. The possibilities and limits of both are demonstrated by various applications. The high contrast and the use of the full numerical aperture of the DIC optics makes it possible to obtain a series of 'optical sections' through rather thick living specimens (e.g. head of water flea, salivary gland of Drosophila, Xenopus nucleolus, sea urchen egg, mouse embryo). PhC and DIC optics are today available for high resolution light microscopy until N.A. 1.4 Oil as well as for long working distance (LWD) optics, mainly combined with inverted biological microscopes.
Kampourakis, Kostas; Silveira, Patricia; Strasser, Bruno J.
Research suggests that students tend to explain the origin of biological traits in terms of needs or purposes and/or as the direct product of genes, rather than as the outcome of evolutionary and developmental processes. We suggest that in order for students to be able to construct scientific explanations, it is important to clearly and explicitly…
Lynch, Vincent J; Wagner, Günter P
A long-standing question in evolutionary and developmental biology concerns the relative contribution of cis-regulatory and protein changes to developmental evolution. Central to this argument is which mutations generate evolutionarily relevant phenotypic variation? A review of the growing body of evolutionary and developmental literature supports the notion that many developmentally relevant differences occur in the cis-regulatory regions of protein-coding genes, generally to the exclusion of changes in the protein-coding region of genes. However, accumulating experimental evidence demonstrates that many of the arguments against a role for proteins in the evolution of gene regulation, and the developmental evolution in general, are no longer supported and there is an increasing number of cases in which transcription factor protein changes have been demonstrated in evolution. Here, we review the evidence that cis-regulatory evolution is an important driver of phenotypic evolution and provide examples of protein-mediated developmental evolution. Finally, we present an argument that the evolution of proteins may play a more substantial, but thus far underestimated, role in developmental evolution.
The human heart is the first organ to develop and its development is fairly well characterised. In theory, the heart has the capacity to regenerate, as its cardiomyocytes may be capable of cell division and the adult heart contains a cardiac stem cell niche, presumably capable of differentiating into cardiomyocytes and other cardiac-associated cell types. However, as with most other organs, these mechanisms are not activated upon serious injury. Several experimental options to induce regeneration of the damaged heart tissue are available: activate the endogenous cardiomyocytes to divide, coax the endogenous population of stem cells to divide and differentiate, or add exogenous cell-based therapy to replace the lost cardiac tissue. This review is a summary of the recent research into all these avenues, discussing the reasons for the limited successes of clinical trials using stem cells after cardiac injury and explaining new advances in basic science. It concludes with a reiteration that chances of successful regeneration would be improved by understanding and implementing the basics of heart development and stem cell biology.
Wagner, Günter P; Lynch, Vincent J
How novel traits arise in organisms has long been a major problem in biology. Indeed, the sharpest critiques of Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection often centered on explaining how novel body parts arose. In his response to The Origin of Species, St. George J. Mivart challenged Darwin to explain the origin of evolutionary novelties such as the mammary gland, asking if it was "conceivable that the young of any animal was ever saved from destruction by accidentally sucking a drop of scarcely nutritious fluid from an accidentally hypertrophied cutaneous gland of its mother?" It is only now that modern molecular and genomic tools are being brought to bear on this question that we are finally in a position to answer Mivart's challenge and explain one of the most fundamental questions of biology: how does novelty arise in evolution?
It is common to refer to all sorts of clear-cut differences between the sexes as something that is biologically almost inevitable. Although this does not reflect the status of evolutionary theory on sex determination and sexual dimorphism, it is probably a common view among evolutionary biologists as well, because of the impact of sexual selection theory. To get away from thinking about biological sex and traits associated with a particular sex as something static, it should be recognized that in an evolutionary perspective sex can be viewed as a reaction norm, with sex attributes being phenotypically plastic. Sex determination itself is fundamentally plastic, even when it is termed “genetic”. The phenotypic expression of traits that are statistically associated with a particular sex always has a plastic component. This plasticity allows for much more variation in the expression of traits according to sex and more overlap between the sexes than is typically acknowledged. Here we review the variation and frequency of evolutionary changes in sex, sex determination and sex roles and conclude that sex in an evolutionary time-frame is extremely variable. We draw on recent findings in sex determination mechanisms, empirical findings of morphology and behaviour as well as genetic and developmental models to explore the concept of sex as a reaction norm. From this point of view, sexual differences are not expected to generally fall into neat, discrete, pre-determined classes. It is important to acknowledge this variability in order to increase objectivity in evolutionary research. PMID:21170116
The Marine Biological Laboratory and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration have established a cooperative agreement with the formation of a Center for Advanced Studies 'in the Space Life Sciences (CASSLS) at the MBL. This Center serves as an interface between NASA and the basic science community, addressing issues of mutual interest. The Center for Advanced Studies 'in the Space Life Sciences provides a forum for scientists to think and discuss, often for the first time, the role that gravity and aspects of spaceflight may play 'in fundamental cellular and physiologic processes. In addition the Center will sponsor discussions on evolutionary biology. These interactions will inform the community of research opportunities that are of interest to NASA. This workshop is one of a series of symposia, workshops and seminars that will be held at the MBL to advise NASA on a wide variety of topics in the life sciences, including cell biology, developmental biology, mg evolutionary biology, molecular biology, neurobiology, plant biology and systems biology.
Love, Alan C.
Evolutionary developmental biology (Evo-devo) is a vibrant area of contemporary life science that should be (and is) increasingly incorporated into teaching curricula. Although the inclusion of this content is important for biological pedagogy at multiple levels of instruction, there are also philosophical lessons that can be drawn from the…
Kuno, Goro; Chang, Gwong-Jen J.
Among animal viruses, arboviruses are unique in that they depend on arthropod vectors for transmission. Field research and laboratory investigations related to the three components of this unique mode of transmission, virus, vector, and vertebrate host, have produced an enormous amount of valuable information that may be found in numerous publications. However, despite many reviews on specific viruses, diseases, or interests, a systematic approach to organizing the available information on all facets of biological transmission and then to interpret it in the context of the evolutionary process has not been attempted before. Such an attempt in this review clearly demonstrates tremendous progress made worldwide to characterize the viruses, to comprehend disease transmission and pathogenesis, and to understand the biology of vectors and their role in transmission. The rapid progress in molecular biologic techniques also helped resolve many virologic puzzles and yielded highly valuable data hitherto unavailable, such as characterization of virus receptors, the genetic basis of vertebrate resistance to viral infection, and phylogenetic evidence of the history of host range shifts in arboviruses. However, glaring gaps in knowledge of many critical subjects, such as the mechanism of viral persistence and the existence of vertebrate reservoirs, are still evident. Furthermore, with the accumulated data, new questions were raised, such as evolutionary directions of virus virulence and of host range. Although many fundamental questions on the evolution of this unique mode of transmission remained unresolved in the absence of a fossil record, available observations for arboviruses and the information derived from studies in other fields of the biological sciences suggested convergent evolution as a plausible process. Overall, discussion of the diverse range of theories proposed and observations made by many investigators was found to be highly valuable for sorting out the
Darwin's evolution theory is fundamental for modern biology. But the logic of evolutionary development seems to have a wider context. Several observations and psychological investigations show convincingly that the extent of the development of human psyche is a continuation of the biological evolution. Developmental levels of consciousness, seen both from the individual and collective perspective, are discussed in the writings by the American investigator and philosopher Ken Wilber. His integral model, which has evoIved into integral psychology, forms a logical and inspiring basis for further scientific deliberations in the fields of psychology and medical sciences.
Gilbert, Scott F
Ecological developmental biology is the study of the interactions between developing organisms and their environments. Organisms have evolved to use the environment as a source of important cues that can alter the trajectory of their development. First, developmental plasticity enables the genome to generate a repertoire of possible phenotypes, and environmental cues are often used to select the phenotype that appears most adaptive at that time. This facilitates evolutionary strategies such as phenotypic accommodation, genetic assimilation, and niche construction. Second, developmental symbiosis, wherein the developing animal utilizes cues from other organisms for normal cell differentiation and morphogenesis, has been found to be ubiquitous. The coevolution of symbiotic microbes and animal cells has often led to the dependency of an animal's development on particular microbial signals, making these cues essential and expected components of normal development.
A review is given of the advances in our knowledge of the developmental biology of the so-called cyst-forming coccidia in the years from 1974 to 1978. Until 1970 only 6 Isospora species were known to occur in cats, dogs and men. After the discovery of the coccidian nature of the genera Toxoplasma, Sarcocystis, Besnoitia and Frenkelia, and after the discovery of the new genus Hammondia the number of known species rose to over 30. In addition it could be shown that also birds of prey, owls and reptiles serve as final hosts for several Sarcocystis and Frenkelia species. The coccidia with isosporoid oocysts can be classified into two major groups: Species with gamogony and sporogony in the final host (Sarcocystis, Frenkelia) and species with schizogony and gamogony in the final host and sporogony on the ground (Isospora, Cystoisospora, Hammondia, Toxoplasma, Besnoitia). The subdivision of the first group into the genera Sarcocystis and Frenkelia based on the localization of their cysts in the musculature and in the brain, respectively, cannot be upheld in the future. Their classification into organisms with small cystozoites of about 7 microm with birds or reptiles as final hosts (Sarcocystis and Frenkelia species of rodents) and those with large cystozoites of about 15 microm and mammals as final hosts (Sarcocystis spp. of domestic animals and rodents) would be more significative. The second group can be subdivided into monoxenous species (Isospora), species with an optional intermediate host in which no or only slight multiplication occurs (Cystoisospora) and in genera with a multiplication in two phases in the intermediate host (Hammondia, Toxoplasma, Besnoitia). The nomenclature of single species is very controversial. As an example the controversial apprehension of the taxonomy of the Sarcocystis species of cattle is discussed. An application has been submitted to the International Commission for the Zoological Nomenclature to delcare a number of names as nomina
Pauwels, Maxime; Frérot, Hélène; Souleman, Dima; Vandenbulcke, Franck
Anthropogenic activities may lead to the accumulation of inorganic and organic compounds in topsoils. Biota living in close contact with contaminated soils may experience stress at different levels of biological organization throughout the continuum from molecular to community level. Biological responses observed at the individual or infra-individual level of biological organization led to the development of biomarkers. The development of biomarkers consists often in evidencing biological modifications following a contaminant stress in laboratory conditions, using naïve organisms and it is sometime proposed to use the biological state of individuals from sentinel species collected in the field to evaluate the level of environmental exposure. However, considering the possibility of local adaptation following long-term exposure, organisms response sampled in the field may substantially differ from laboratory specimens. In this review, we discuss this point focusing on the definition and validity of molecular biomarkers of metal pollution using earthworms of the Lumbricidae family.
Sun, Teng; Liu, Shanglong; Zhou, Yanbing; Yao, Zengwu; Zhang, Dongfeng; Cao, Shougen; Wei, Zhiliang; Tan, Bin; Li, Yi; Lian, Zheng; Wang, Song
The molecular biological mechanisms underlying the evolutionary biologic changes leading to carcinogenesis remain unclear. The main objective of our study was to explore the evolution of the microbiota community and molecules related with CRC in the dynamic transition from normal colon epithelium to premalignant adenoma with the aid of an ‘adenoma–carcinoma sequence’ mouse CRC model induced by DMH. We generated a modified mouse CRC model induced by DMH for DNA sequences, and characterized the molecular networks. Data from 454 pyrosequencing of the V3- V5 region of the 16S rDNA gene and immunohistochemical detection of APC, P53, K-RAS and BRAF genes were assessed with Principal coordinates, UniFrac, and Kruskal-Wallis rank sum test. The inflammatory group showed enrichment of Bacteroidetes and Porphyromonadaceae (P < 0.01). OTUs affiliated with Firmicutes were enriched in the hyperproliferative group (P < 0.01). Rikenellaceae and Ruminococcaceae showed an increasing trend during the CRC process while the opposite pattern was observed for Prevotellaceaeand Enterobacteriaceae. OTUs related to Alistipes finegoldii were significantly increased during CRC development, P53, K-RAS and BRAF, were gradually increased (P < 0.05). Conversely, expression of APC was decreased during the course of development of CRC. Our results demonstrate that the biological evolutionary shift of gut microbiota, characterized by a gradual decrease in ‘driver’ bacteria and an increase in DNA damage-causing bacteria, is accompanied by tumor development in the CRC model. The synergistic actions of microbiota dysbiosis and effects of bacterial metabolites on related molecular events are proposed to contribute to the progression of CRC tumorigenesis. PMID:27880935
Sun, Teng; Liu, Shanglong; Zhou, Yanbing; Yao, Zengwu; Zhang, Dongfeng; Cao, Shougen; Wei, Zhiliang; Tan, Bin; Li, Yi; Lian, Zheng; Wang, Song
The molecular biological mechanisms underlying the evolutionary biologic changes leading to carcinogenesis remain unclear. The main objective of our study was to explore the evolution of the microbiota community and molecules related with CRC in the dynamic transition from normal colon epithelium to premalignant adenoma with the aid of an 'adenoma-carcinoma sequence' mouse CRC model induced by DMH. We generated a modified mouse CRC model induced by DMH for DNA sequences, and characterized the molecular networks. Data from 454 pyrosequencing of the V3- V5 region of the 16S rDNA gene and immunohistochemical detection of APC, P53, K-RAS and BRAF genes were assessed with Principal coordinates, UniFrac, and Kruskal-Wallis rank sum test. The inflammatory group showed enrichment of Bacteroidetes and Porphyromonadaceae (P < 0.01). OTUs affiliated with Firmicutes were enriched in the hyperproliferative group (P < 0.01). Rikenellaceae and Ruminococcaceae showed an increasing trend during the CRC process while the opposite pattern was observed for Prevotellaceaeand Enterobacteriaceae. OTUs related to Alistipes finegoldii were significantly increased during CRC development, P53, K-RAS and BRAF, were gradually increased (P < 0.05). Conversely, expression of APC was decreased during the course of development of CRC. Our results demonstrate that the biological evolutionary shift of gut microbiota, characterized by a gradual decrease in 'driver' bacteria and an increase in DNA damage-causing bacteria, is accompanied by tumor development in the CRC model. The synergistic actions of microbiota dysbiosis and effects of bacterial metabolites on related molecular events are proposed to contribute to the progression of CRC tumorigenesis.
Summarizes events of a conference on evolutionary biology in Chicago entitled: "Macroevolution." Reviews the theory of modern synthesis, a term used to explain Darwinism in terms of population biology and genetics. Issues presented at the conference are discussed in detail. (CS)
McGhee, George R.
Limits in the evolution of biological form can be empirically demonstrated by using theoretical morphospace analyses, and actual analytic examples are given for univalved ammonoid shell form, bivalved brachiopod shell form and helical bryozoan colony form. Limits in the evolution of form in these animal groups can be shown to be due to functional and developmental constraints on possible evolutionary trajectories in morphospace. Future evolutionary-limit research is needed to analyse the possible existence of temporal constraint in the evolution of biological form on Earth, and in the search for the possible existence of functional alien life forms on Titan and Triton that are developmentally impossible for Earth life. PMID:26640645
One of the greatest challenges instructors face is getting students to connect with the subject in a manner that encourages them to learn. In this essay, we describe the redesign of our Developmental Biology course to foster a deeper connection between students and the field of developmental biology. In our approach, we created a community of scientific practice focused on the investigation of environmental impacts on embryonic development and informed by popular and scientific media, the students' own questions, and the instructor. Our goals were to engage students in meaningful ways with the material, to develop students' science process skills, and to enhance students' understanding of broad principles of developmental biology. Though significant challenges arose during implementation, assessments indicate using this approach to teach undergraduate developmental biology was successful. PMID:18316806