Rates of evolution in developmental processes

Journal Article

The tempo and mode of morphological evolution are influenced by several factors, among which evolutionary transformations in developmental processes are likely to be important. Comparing the embryos of extant species in an explicit phylogenetic framework allows estimation of minimum average rates of evolution in quantitative developmental parameters. It also allows delineation of the maximum time that complex qualitative trnasformations in developmental mechanism take to evolve. This paper analyzes rates of quantitative and qualitative developmental evolution using examples drawn primarily form echinoderms. Rates of developmental evolution can be comparable to rates of morphological evolution. There is no indication that rates of evolution in development are lower for earlier stages. In particular, rates of evolution in oogenesis can exceed rates of evolution in adult body size. Rates of developmental evolution can vary by up to two orders of magnitude within a clade. -from Author

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Wray, GA

Published Date

  • 1992

Published In

  • American Zoologist

Volume / Issue

  • 32 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 123 - 134