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Towards a Theory of Development

Alessandro Minelli and Thomas Pradeu


Is it possible to explain and predict the development of living things? And is the formulation of theories helpful to achieve this aim? This volume offers an in-depth examination of the role of theories and theorization in developmental biology: does this field offer theories, and if so, in what sense of the word ‘theory’? Are theories useful in the everyday practice of developmental biologists? Should developmental biologists seek to construct more theories and perhaps even a unifying theoretical framework for their field? Key issues are at stake in this debate, including the very definition ... More

Keywords: developmental biology, evo-devo, explanation, gene regulatory networks, model, positional information, programme, systems biology, theory

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780199671427
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199671427.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Alessandro Minelli, editor
Professor of Zoology - retired, University of Padova

Thomas Pradeu, editor
Associate Professor in Philosophy of Science, Paris-Sorbonne University

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Chapter 4 On the concept of mechanism in development

Johannes Jaeger and James Sharpe

Chapter 7 The landscape metaphor in development

Giuseppe Fusco, Roberto Carrer, and Emanuele Serrelli

Chapter 17 Animal development in a microbial world

Spencer V. Nyholm and Margaret J. McFall-Ngai

End Matter