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Challenging the Modern SynthesisAdaptation, Development, and Inheritance$
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Philippe Huneman and Denis Walsh

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199377176

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199377176.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 04 December 2021

Serial Homology as a Challenge to Evolutionary Theory

Serial Homology as a Challenge to Evolutionary Theory

The Repeated Parts of Organisms from Idealistic Morphology to Evo-Devo

(p.317) 11 Serial Homology as a Challenge to Evolutionary Theory
Challenging the Modern Synthesis

Stéphane Schmitt

Oxford University Press

The problem of the repeated parts of organisms was at the center of the biological sciences as early as the first decades of the 19th century. Some concepts and theories (e.g., serial homology, unity of plan, or colonial theory) introduced in order to explain the similarity as well as the differences between the repeated structures of an organism were reused throughout the 19th and the 20th century, in spite of the fundamental changes during this long period that saw the diffusion of the evolutionary theory, the rise of experimental approaches, and the emergence of new fields and disciplines. Interestingly, this conceptual heritage was at the core of any attempt to unify the problems of inheritance, development, and evolution, in particular in the last decades, with the rise of “evo-devo.” This chapter examines the conditions of this theoretical continuity and the challenges it brings out for the current evolutionary sciences.

Keywords:   serial homology, unity of plan, anatomy, embryology, evo-devo, ontogeny and phylogeny

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