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The Development of Animal Form: Ontogeny, Morphology and Evolution

The first book on evolutionary developmental biology that extensively integrates molecular genetic and morphological approaches
Deals extensively with post-embryonic development, rather than embryology, which all competing books focus on
Offers unconventional views on the main features of animal architecture

By: Alessandro Minelli (Author)

323 pages, 49 illustrations

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Mar 2006 | #186772 | ISBN: 0521025184
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £27.99 $34/€31 approx
Hardback | Mar 2003 | #136839 | ISBN: 0521808510
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £97.99 $120/€110 approx

About this book

Contemporary research in the field of evolutionary developmental biology, or 'evo-devo', has to date been predominantly devoted to interpreting basic features of animal architecture in molecular genetics terms. Considerably less time has been spent on the exploitation of the wealth of facts and concepts available from traditional disciplines, such as comparative morphology, even though these traditional approaches can continue to offer a fresh insight into evolutionary developmental questions. The Development of Animal Form aims to integrate traditional morphological and contemporary molecular genetic approaches and to deal with post-embryonic development as well. This approach leads to unconventional views on the basic features of animal organization, such as body axes, symmetry, segments, body regions, appendages and related concepts. The Development of Animal Form will be of particular interest to graduate students and researchers in evolutionary and developmental biology, as well as to those in related areas of cell biology, genetics and zoology.

"[...] a discerning and critical, yet loving, view of a dynamic field. I recommend it especially to graduate students and postdocs. It will be read with profit by those who seriously desire to mold evolutionary developmental biology."

"Rather than asking small questions, Minelli presents insightful hypotheses and concepts. If you want to look up from your myopic concentration on your single model system and broaden your horizons, you should read this book. It is a 'must read' for any practitioner in the fields of developmental and evolutionary biology – fields that, at long last, are beginning to be unified."

"[...] an enjoyable and stimulating read. I hope people will read this book, because it contains much of value and interest. [...] it is a genuine effort to reconnect evo-devo with a broader natural history. In this, it succeeds beautifully."
Nature Genetics

"This fascinating book should be essential reading for all biologists [...] the book is full of fascinating facts that many of us are unaware of, some of which look to me like excellent topics for future research projects. With regard to the book's style, it is a compliment to the author, but also entirely accurate, to say that his writing flows better than that of many native English speakers. The book is a pleasure to read. It is also a reader-friendly length and is illustrated with many interesting figures. The level of typographical (or indeed any) errors is remarkably low. [...] I very much enjoyed this book, and I hope many of you who buy and read it will respond in the same way."
Evolution and Development

"[...] a great basis for graduate seminars, because it is full of intriguing speculation and contentious ideas that will provoke discussion and it also offers an abundance of factual information with which those ideas can be put to the test."
Journal of Evolutionary Biology

"[...] a focused effort to strike a new balance in the recently revitalized field of research known as evolutionary developmental biology [...] given the scope and complexity of the subject matter, it succeeds [...] [an] important book."
The Quarterly Review of Biology

"[...] a discerning and critical, yet loving, view of a dynamic field. I recommend it especially to graduate students and postdocs. It will be read with profit by those who seriously desire to mould evolutionary developmental biology."
Science Magazine

"[...] engaging and groundbreaking [...] This important book should be read by every graduate student whose work touches either or both of the fields of developmental and evolutionary biology."

"[...] comprehensive and clear [...]."
Blackwell Synergy

"Rare is the author who is equally at ease discussing arthropods, vertebrates, and cnidarians. Rarer still is the researcher who is familiar with the antecedents of a field as broad as evolutionary-developmental (evo-devo) biology. Minelli is such a scholar [...] It is a long, strange trip, but one that pays off in the end [...] Minelli writes well, and the narrative flows smoothly [...] this book is a valiant attempt to educate the next generation of evo-devo workers in the ways of descriptive embryology and comparative morphology [...] It feels like a tour through a neglected museum of natural history led by a master tour guide who brings the specimens to life, extols the esthetics of the collection, and inspires us to inquire into deeper mysteries using all of the tools at our disposal – especially our minds."
– Lewis I. Held, Texas Tech University

"[...] contains some very interesting ideas and is well worth the read."
– Benedikt Hallgrímsson, International Journal of Primatology



1. The Nature of Development
2. Everything begun to the service of development: cellular Darwinism and the origin of animal form
3. Development: generic to genetic
4. Periodization
5. Body regions, their boundaries and complexity
6. Differentiation and patterning
7. Size factors
8. Axes and symmetries
9. Segments
10. Evo-devo perspectives on homology

Summary and Conclusions

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