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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: 20 October 2021

Evolvability and Its Evolvability

Evolvability and Its Evolvability

(p.211) 7 Evolvability and Its Evolvability
Challenging the Modern Synthesis

Alessandro Minelli

Oxford University Press

No universally accepted notion of evolvability is available, focus being alternatively put onto either genetic or phenotypic change. The heuristic power of this concept is best found when considering the intricacies of the genotype→phenotype map, which is not necessarily predictable, expression of variation depending on the structure of gene networks and especially on the modularity and robustness of developmental systems. We can hardly ignore evolvability whenever studying the role of cryptic variation in evolution, the often pervious boundary between phenotypic plasticity and the expression of a genetic polymorphism, the major phenotypic leaps that the mechanisms of development can produce based on point mutations, or the morphological stasis that reveals how robust a developmental process can be in front of genetic change. Evolvability is subject itself to evolution, but it is still uncertain to what extent there is positive selection for enhanced evolvability, or for evolvability biased in a specific direction.

Keywords:   accommodation, convergence, evo-devo, innovation, macroevolution, modularity, plasticity, pleiotropy, robustness, saltational evolution

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