A Caltech Library Service

Evolutionary bioscience as regulatory systems biology

Davidson, Eric H. (2011) Evolutionary bioscience as regulatory systems biology. Developmental Biology, 357 (1). pp. 35-40. ISSN 0012-1606. PMCID PMC3135751.

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


At present several entirely different explanatory approaches compete to illuminate the mechanisms by which animal body plans have evolved. Their respective relevance is briefly considered here in the light of modern knowledge of genomes and the regulatory processes by which development is controlled. Just as development is a system property of the regulatory genome, causal explanation of evolutionary change in developmental process must be considered at a system level. Here I enumerate some mechanistic consequences that follow from the conclusion that evolution of the body plan has occurred by alteration of the structure of developmental gene regulatory networks. The hierarchy and multiple additional design features of these networks act to produce Boolean regulatory state specification functions at upstream phases of development of the body plan. These are created by the logic outputs of network subcircuits, and in modern animals these outputs are impervious to continuous adaptive variation unlike genes operating more peripherally in the network.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Additional Information:© 2011 Elsevier Inc. Received 10 December 2010; revised 2 February 2011; accepted 6 February 2011. Available online 12 February 2011. I am extremely grateful to Dr. Isabelle S. Peter and to Dr. Doug Erwin for their critical and helpful reviews of this article. This work was supported by NSF Grant IOS-0641398 and NIH Grant HD-37105.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:GRN evolution; GRN selection
Issue or Number:1
PubMed Central ID:PMC3135751
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20110909-142510782
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Eric H. Davidson, Evolutionary bioscience as regulatory systems biology, Developmental Biology, Volume 357, Issue 1, Experimental and historical aspects of evolutionary bioscience, 1 September 2011, Pages 35-40, ISSN 0012-1606, DOI: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2011.02.004. (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:25279
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:09 Sep 2011 21:49
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 03:04

Repository Staff Only: item control page