Many organisms are made up of identical or modified replicated parts (e.g., the segments of an earthworm, the vertebrae, etc.) This kind of organization has raised many questions from biologists since the late 18th century: what is its anatomical meaning, how is it set up during embryogenesis, what can be deduced from it about species evolution, etc.? The present book relates the history of these questions, and of the theories and concepts they have aroused for two centuries. It shows that the problem of replication of parts continually had, and still has, a central position at the meeting point of several biological disciplines.
Stéphane Schmitt graduated from École normale supérieure, with Aggregation and Ph D in Epistemology and History of Science. He is presently Researcher at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique in the team “Recherches en epistémologie et en histoire des sciences exactes et des institutions scientifiques (REHSEIS, Paris 7). His research focuses on the history of Life sciences (anatomy, embryology, evolution…) since the middle of the 18th century.