Endless Forms Most Beautiful

Endless Forms Most Beautiful

The New Science of Evo Devo and the Making of the Animal Kingdom

Book - 2005
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Evo Devo is evolutionary developmental biology, the third revolution in evolutionary biology. The first was marked by the publication of The Origin of Species. The second occurred in the early twentieth century, when Darwin's theories were merged with the study of genetics. Now the insights of Evo Devo are astonishing the biology world by showing how the endless forms of animals--butterflies and zebras, trilobites and dinosaurs, apes and humans, are made and evolved.Perhaps the most surprising finding of Evo Devo is the discovery that a small number of primitive genes led to the formation of fundamental organs and appendages in all animal forms. The gene that causes humans to form arms and legs is the same gene that causes birds and insects to form wings, and fish to form fins; similarly, one ancient gene has led to the creation of eyes across the animal kingdom. Changes in the way this ancient tool kit of genes is used have created all the diversity that surrounds us.Sean Carroll is the ideal author to lead the curious on this intellectual adventure--he is the acknowledged leader of the field, and his seminal discoveries have been featured in Time and The New York Times.
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Co., c2005.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780393060164
Branch Call Number: 571.85 Car
Characteristics: 350 p. ; 24 cm.


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Aug 28, 2010

A great introduction and review of the work linking the developmental impact of reusing the master regulatory proteins to control a changing galaxy of specific proteins to alter the final organisms form to fit its habitat.
He details the emergence of the body axes under the Hox proteins and how they work to isolate the expression of genes to promote modularity. Isolation makes regional use of bone, collagen, epithelium etc independent of other modules that also use the same genes. This allows constant tinkering without pleiotropic disruption.
The final result is:
1 Hox mapping regulation proteins. Body axis planers.
2 Master body specializing regulators. Eye, limb bud, heart. Look up Pax6, Dll, Tinman for examples of DNA binding regulatory proteins.
3 Regulators at the cell level to keep the life process going. Cellular housekeeping genes

1 - reuse what is already there – modify preexisting systems.
2 – multifunctionality & redundancy. If the systems do overlapping jobs there is space to separate and specialize. Division of labor => niche adaptation
3 – modularity to allow modification of isolated regions independent of other modules that also use the same genes.

Modular architecture - Isolate the control to the geographic position.
Master genes for mapping and local master organizers- expressed homeobox proteins
The physical geography
Complex DNA regulatory patterns to provide regulatory combinations of switch settings. Allows reuse in time and specify cell type expression.


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