Allometry, Scaling, and Ontogeny of Form-An Introduction to the Symposium.
Until recently, the study of allometry has been mostly descriptive, and consisted of a diversity of methods for fitting regressions to bivariate or multivariate morphometric data. During the past decade, researchers have been developing methods to extract biological information from allometric data that could be used to deduce the underlying mechanisms that gave rise to the allometry. In addition, an increasing effort has gone into understanding the kinetics of growth and the regulatory mechanisms that control growth of the body and its component parts. The study of allometry and scaling has now become an exceptionally diverse field, with different investigators applying state of the art methods and concepts in evolution, developmental biology, cell biology, and genetics. Diversity has caused divergence, and we felt that although there is general agreement about the new goals for the study of allometry (understanding underlying mechanisms and how those evolve to produce different morphologies), progress is hindered by lack of coordination among the different approaches. We felt the time was right to bring these diverse practitioners together in a symposium to discuss their most recent work in the hope of forging new functional, conceptual, and collaborative connections among established and novice practitioners.
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