Variation: A Central Concept in Biology

Variation: A Central Concept in Biology

by Benedikt Hallgrímsson, Brian K. Hall

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Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection was based on the observation that there is variation between individuals within the same species. This fundamental observation is a central concept in evolutionary biology. However, variation is only rarely treated directly. It has remained peripheral to the study of mechanisms of evolutionary change. The explosion of knowledge in genetics, developmental biology, and the ongoing synthesis of evolutionary and developmental biology has made it possible for us to study the factors that limit, enhance, or structure variation at the level of an animals' physical appearance and behavior. Knowledge of the significance of variability is crucial to this emerging synthesis. Variation situates the role of variability within this broad framework, bringing variation back to the center of the evolutionary stage.
  • Provides an overview of current thinking on variation in evolutionary biology, functional morphology, and evolutionary developmental biology
  • Written by a team of leading scholars specializing on the study of variation
  • Reviews of statistical analysis of variation by leading authorities
  • Key chapters focus on the role of the study of phenotypic variation for evolutionary, developmental, and post-genomic biology

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780080454467
Publisher: Elsevier Science
Publication date: 05/04/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 592
File size: 9 MB

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Variation and Variability: Central Concepts in Biology
Chapter 2. Variation from Darwin to the Modern Synthesis
Chapter 3. The Statistics of Variation
Chapter 4. Landmark Morphometrics and the Analysis of Variation
Chapter 5. Variation in Ontogeny
Chapter 6. Constraints on Variation from Genotype through Phenotype to Fitness
Chapter 7. Developmental Origins of Variation
Chapter 8. Canalization, Cryptic Variation and Developmental Buffering: A Critical Examination and Analytical Perspective
Chapter 9. Mutation and Phenotypic Variation: Where is the connection Capacitators, Stressors, Phenotypic Variability and Evolutionary Change
Chapter 10. Within Individual Variation: Developmental Noise versus Developmental Stability
Chapter 11. Developmental Constraints, Modules and Evolvability
Chapter 12. Developmental Regulation of Variability
Chapter 13. Role of Stress in Evolution: From Individual Adaptability to Evolutionary Adaptation
Chapter 14. Environmentally Contingent Variation: Phenotypic Plasticity and Norms of Reaction
Chapter 15. Variation and Life History Evolution
Chapter 16. Antisymmetry
Chapter 17. Variation in Structure and its Relationship to Function: Correlation, Explanation and Extrapolation
Chapter 18. A Universal Generative Tendency Toward Increased Organismal Complexity
Chapter 19. Variation and Versatility in Macroevolution
Chapter 20. Variation and Developmental Biology: Prospects for the Future
Chapter 21. Phenogenetics: Genotypes, Phenotypes, and Variation
Chapter 22. The Study of Phenotypic Variability

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