Development and evolutionary constraints in animals

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Development and evolutionary constraints in animals

Type: Article / Letter to editor
Title: Development and evolutionary constraints in animals
Author: Galis, F.Metz, J.A.J.Alphen, J.J.M. van
Journal Title: Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics
Volume: 49
Start Page: 499
End Page: 522
Pages: 24
Issue Date: 2018
Abstract: We review the evolutionary importance of developmental mechanisms in constraining evolutionary changes in animals—in other words, developmental constraints. We focus on hard constraints that can act on macroevolutionary timescales. In particular, we discuss the causes and evolutionary consequences of the ancient metazoan constraint that differentiated cells cannot divide and constraints against changes of phylotypic stages in vertebrates and other higher taxa. We conclude that in all cases these constraints are caused by complex and highly controlled global interactivity of development, the disturbance of which has grave consequences. Mutations that affect such global interactivity almost unavoidably have many deleterious pleiotropic effects, which will be strongly selected against and will lead to long-term evolutionary stasis. The discussed developmental constraints have pervasive consequences for evolution and critically restrict regeneration capacity and body plan evolution.

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