What is Devo-Evo?

Developmental evolution is a recent transformation of evolutionary biology (with a deep history) that establishes evolutionary biology as a mechanistic science, one that grounds explanations of phenotypic evolution in a detailed understanding of the developmental mechanism that generate phenotypes in the first place (during ontogeny and governed to a large part by the regulatory genome).

A central concept in developmental evolution is the four dimensional regulatory genome or the gene regulatory network. Detailed understanding of these networks of interacting genes allows us to account for the causal role of the genome in generating phenotypes as well as phenotypic differences. As each phenotype is the product of an underlying gene regulatory network (acting in concert with a whole range of additional signaling processes), every phenotypic variant is therefore the product of some corresponding variation within these networks.

What is computational history of science?

Computational methods and perspectives are transforming the history of science by enabling the pursuit of novel types of questions, dramatically expanding the scale of analysis (geographically and temporally), and offering novel forms of publication that greatly enhance access and transparency. To this end we, together with our collaborators, are developing a computational research system for the history of science that follows similar transformations in the natural and social sciences that have emphasized big data and computational thinking. We are building software platforms, analytical tools and the necessary repository infrastructure. Our own work in that area is focused on a variety of case studies and projects, each utilizing a number of computational tools.

"Developmental Evolution (DE) contributes to various research programs in biology, such as the assessment of homology and the determination of the genetic architecture underlying species differences. The most distinctive contribution offered by DE to evolutionary biology, however, is the elucidation of the role of developmental mechanisms in the origin of evolutionary innovations. To date, explanations of evolutionary innovations have remained beyond the reach of classical evolutionary genetics, because such explanations require detailed information on the function of genes and the emergent developmental dynamics of their interactions with other genetic factors." (Wagner, Chiu, and Laubichler, 2000)

"...a complementary tradition, namely to explain the evolution of organisms in reference to the developmental mechanisms that first generate phenotypes and phenotypic variation, have informed some of the most important current evolutionary biology research programs, those in developmental evolution (Devo-Evo) and synthetic experimental evolution (SEE)." (Laubichler & Maienschein, 2007)

For more information, see: Theory of Developmental Evolution and Complex Adaptive Systems.