Reflections on Model Organisms in Evolutionary Developmental Biology

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


This chapter reflects on and makes explicit the distinctiveness of reasoning practices associated with model organisms in the context of evolutionary developmental research. Model organisms in evo-devo instantiate a unique synthesis of model systems strategies from developmental biology and comparative strategies from evolutionary biology that negotiate a tension between developmental conservation and evolutionary change to address scientific questions about the evolution of development and the developmental basis of evolutionary change. We review different categories of model systems that have been advanced to understand practices found in the life sciences in order to comprehend how evo-devo model organisms instantiate this synthesis in the context of three examples: the starlet sea anemone and the evolution of bilateral symmetry, leeches and the origins of segmentation in bilaterians, and the corn snake to understand major evolutionary change in axial and appendicular morphology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationResults and Problems in Cell Differentiation
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages18
StatePublished - 2019

Publication series

NameResults and problems in cell differentiation
PublisherSpringer Verlag
ISSN (Print)0080-1844

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Springer Nature Switzerland AG.

Copyright 2019 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Developmental Biology
  • Leeches/embryology
  • Models, Animal
  • Sea Anemones/embryology
  • Snakes/embryology

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Review
  • Journal Article


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