A mathematical model for spine morphogenesis based on mechanical interactions during shell growth demonstrates that a diversity of spine structures can be accounted for through small variations in parameters of a natural mechanical process. The convergent evolution of spines can be understood as the outcome of a generic morphogenetic process. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Mechanical basis of morphogenesis and convergent evolution of spiny seashells
Chirat, R., D.E. Moulton, and A. Goriely. 2013. Mechanical basis of morphogenesis and convergent evolution of spiny seashells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 110:6015–6020.
The floral homeotic B-group gene family robustly specifies petal and stamen identity in flowers. At the same time, genetic interactions in this family can readily evolve through changes in protein–protein interaction, gene expression patterns, copy number variation, or alterations in the downstream genes they control, thereby contributing to flower diversity. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Robustness and evolvability in the B-system of flower development
Geuten, K, T. Viaene, and V.F. Irish. 2011. Robustness and evolvability in the B-system of flower development. Annals of Botany 107:1545-1556.
Interconnected nodes on a neutral network. (Blue spheres are present in the population and black spheres are unoccupied nodes.) A neutral network with high intrinsic robustness has its occupancy spread out across a larger portion of the network, gaining access to more potential variability. Image Credit: John Seymour-Anderson.
Robustness and evolvability
Masel, J. and M.V. Trotter. 2010. Robustness and evolvability. Trends in Genetics 26:406–414.
The diversity of beetles is due in part to the modularity of their developmental genetic processes. Insects that exhibit complete metamorphosis have gene expression networks that are activated more independently than those that have incomplete metamorphosis, and therefore have the potential to evolve more readily. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Modularity, evolvability, and adaptive radiations: a comparison of the hemi- and holometabolous insects
Yang, A. 2001. Modularity, evolvability, and adaptive radiations: a comparison of the hemi- and holometabolous insects. Evolution & Development 3:59–72.