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Abstract Detail

Evolutionary Developmental Biology (Evo-Devo)

Friedman, William [1], Diggle, Pamela [2].

Charles Darwin and the origins of plant evolutionary developmental biology.

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 acknowledgement 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 vonBaer provided as a non-evolutionary comparative embryologist to the creation of an evolutionary developmental viewpoint, 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plant morphogenesis in the1840s and 1850s is none other than Charles Darwin, whose notebooks,correspondence, and (then) unpublished manuscripts clearly demonstrate that he had discovered the developmental basis for the evolutionary transformation of plant form.

Broader Impacts:

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1 - Harvard University and Arnold Arboretum, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Cambridge, MA, USA
2 - University Of Colorado, Department Of Ecology And Evolutionary Biology, CAMPUS BOX 334, University Of Colorado, Boulder, CO, 80309-0334, USA

History of science

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Session: 41
Location: Lindell D/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Wednesday, July 13th, 2011
Time: 11:45 AM
Number: 41014
Abstract ID:197

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