modularity in development and evolution pdf

Modularity in development and evolution pdf

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Evolutionary psychology


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Evolutionary psychology

Evolutionary psychology is a theoretical approach in the social and natural sciences that examines psychological structure from a modern evolutionary perspective. Adaptationist thinking about physiological mechanisms, such as the heart, lungs, and immune system, is common in evolutionary biology. Some evolutionary psychologists apply the same thinking to psychology, arguing that the modularity of mind is similar to that of the body and with different modular adaptations serving different functions. These evolutionary psychologists argue that much of human behavior is the output of psychological adaptations that evolved to solve recurrent problems in human ancestral environments. Evolutionary psychology is not simply a subdiscipline of psychology but its evolutionary theory can provide a foundational, metatheoretical framework that integrates the entire field of psychology in the same way evolutionary biology has for biology.

The existence of discrete phenotypic traits suggests that the complex regulatory processes which produce them are functionally modular. These processes are usually represented by networks. Only modular networks can be partitioned into intelligible subcircuits able to evolve relatively independently. Traditionally, functional modularity is approximated by detection of modularity in network structure. However, the correlation between structure and function is loose.

Organismal development and many cell biological processes are organized in a modular fashion, where regulatory molecules form groups with many interactions within a group and few interactions between groups. Thus, the activity of elements within a module depends little on elements outside of it. Modularity facilitates the production of heritable variation and of evolutionary innovations. There is no consensus on how modularity might evolve, especially for modules in development. We show that modularity can increase in gene regulatory networks as a byproduct of specialization in gene activity. Such specialization occurs after gene regulatory networks are selected to produce new gene activity patterns that appear in a specific body structure or under a specific environmental condition.


Skip to search form Skip to main content You are currently offline. Some features of the site may not work correctly. DOI: For at least a century biologists have been talking, mostly in a black-box sense, about developmental mechanisms. Only recently have biologists succeeded broadly in fishing out the contents of these black boxes. Unfortunately the view from inside the black box is almost as obscure as that from without, and developmental biologists increasingly confront the need to synthesize known facts about developmental phenomena into mechanistic descriptions of complex systems. View on PubMed.

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We are interested in defining the genetic architecture of complex traits in order to gain a better understanding of trait variation in evolution, health, and disease. By genetic architecture we refer to the number of genes affecting trait variation, the relative size of gene effects, the role of dominance interactions between alleles, the epistatic interactions between genes, epigenetic and maternal effects, and the range of multiple trait pleiotropic effects. Maternal and epigenetic imprinting effects also occur during growth and persist at a significant level into adulthood. Maxwell, T.

Modularity in animal development and evolution: elements of a conceptual framework for EvoDevo.

Cultural evolutionists typically emphasize the informational aspect of social transmission, that of the learning, stabilizing, and transformation of mental representations along cultural lineages.


In I spent one sabbatical year as post-doctoral fellow at Yale University Department of Biology and in and came back to Yale as visiting fellow at the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and of Psychology. In order to understand what modules are, why and how they emerge and how they change, it would be necessary to start a joint effort by researchers in different disciplines evolutionary and developmental biology, comparative anatomy, physiology, neuro- and cognitive science. This is made difficult by disciplinary specialization. Moreover, by considering that artificial neural networks draw an inspiration from neuro- and cognitive science, an artificial life approach to the problem could theoretically enlarge the field of investigation. While non-modular systems are internally homogeneous, modular systems are segmented into modules, i. In a modular architecture each weight is always involved in a single task: Modules are sets of ' proprietary ' connections that are only used to accomplish a single task. Recently Jose' B.

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Autumn Semester.

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Loyola University Chicago

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