The effect of development on the direction of evolution: toward a twenty-first century consensus
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Arthur, Wallace (2004). The effect of development on the direction of evolution: toward a twenty-first century consensus. Evolution and Development 6 (4), 282-288
One of the most important questions in evolutionary biology is: what orients the evolutionary process? That is, what causes evolution to proceed toward certain developmental trajectories, and hence phenotypes, rather than others? In particular, there has been prolonged controversy over whether the direction of evolution is determined solely by external factors or whether the nature of the ontogenetic process, and the ways in which it can be altered by mutations in developmental genes, may also play a major role. Here, I examine this issue, concentrating on the following: the possible evolutionary orienting role of "developmental bias;" the question of whether selection can and/or will break bias; the extent to which bias is already incorporated in quantitative genetic studies; and ways of approaching the possible role of bias in the origin of evolutionary novelties. Finally, I suggest that developmental bias may provide a focal point for the coming together of conceptual and practical approaches to evo-devo.