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Development and Microbiology

Watkins, Aja (2021) Development and Microbiology. [Preprint]

Development and Microbiology - Watkins 2021.pdf

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On the basis of findings from developmental biology, some researchers have argued that evolutionary theory needs to be significantly updated. Advocates of such a "developmental update" have, among other things, suggested that we need to re-conceptualize units of selection, that we should expand our view of inheritance to include environmental as well as genetic and epigenetic factors, that we should think of organisms and their environment as involved in reciprocal causation, and that we should reevaluate the rates of evolutionary change. However, many of these same conclusions could be reached on the basis of other evidence, namely from microbiology. In this paper, I ask why microbiological evidence has not had a similarly large influence on calls to update biological theory, and argue that there is no principled reason to focus on developmental as opposed to microbiological evidence in support of these revisions to evolutionary theory. I suggest that the focus on developmental biology is more likely attributable to historical accident. I will also discuss some possible room for overlap between developmental and microbiology, despite the historical separation of these two subdisciplines.

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Item Type: Preprint
Watkins, Ajaajawatki@bu.edu0000-0003-0171-8738
Keywords: microbiology, developmental biology, units of selection, inheritance, reciprocal causation, evolutionary rates
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology
Depositing User: Aja Watkins
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2021 04:14
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2021 04:14
Item ID: 19171
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology
Date: 10 June 2021

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