Darwinism Evolution

Altenberg 1999: It was great, but then they flew home and found that …

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In Origination of organismal form: beyond the gene in developmental and evolutionary biology (MIT Press, 2003), we learn about the first Altenberg meeting  (1999) of biologists who doubt Darwin. The locally famous one, that Suzan Mazur covered, came later.

The book grew from that first Altenberg meeting. From the Introduction:

The present volume is motivated by the conviction that the origination of morphological structures, body plans, and forms should be regarded as a problem distinct from that of the variation and diversification of such entities (the central theme of current neo-Darwinian theory) and that the generative determinants of organismal phenotype must be included in any productive account of the evolution of developmental systems and organismal form in our postgenomic era. It is an outgrowth of the 1999 Altenberg workshop in theoretical biology “The Origins of Organismal Form,” organized by the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research (KLI) It is an outgrowth of the 1999 Altenberg workshop in theoretical biology “The Origins of Organismal Form,” organized by the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research (KLI). The workshop brought together scientists in fields ranging across paleontology, developmental biology, developmental and population genetics, cancer research, physics, and theoretical biology whose work has in various ways attempted to supply the missing generative element in standard accounts of the development and evolution of biological form. Despite the wide diversity of the participants’ fields of research, three days of discussion only strengthened an initial sense that gene-level descriptions and analyses are just part of the story in development and evolution, that increased attention must be paid to the generative mechanisms, and that computational models will play an important role in the analysis and understanding of the properties and potentialities of generative systems, thus paving the way for formal integration into evolutionary theory.

Cell biologist Stuart A. Newman looks at the much neglected theory of form in Chapter 13, “From Physics to Development: The Evolution of Morphogenetic Mechanisms”:

The field of evolutionary biology arose from the desire to understand the origin and diversity of biological forms. In recent years, however, evolutionary genetics, with its focus on the modification and inheritance of presumed genetic programs, has all but overwhelmed other aspects of evolutionary biology. This has led to the neglect of the study of the generative origins of biological form.

3 Replies to “Altenberg 1999: It was great, but then they flew home and found that …

  1. 1
    jstanley01 says:

    In recent years, however, evolutionary genetics, with its focus on the modification and inheritance of presumed genetic programs, has all but overwhelmed other aspects of evolutionary biology.Recent years? Like since 1859?

  2. 2
    jstanley01 says:

    [Whoops… :p]

    In recent years, however, evolutionary genetics, with its focus on the modification and inheritance of presumed genetic programs, has all but overwhelmed other aspects of evolutionary biology.

    Recent years? Like since 1859?

  3. 3
    THEMAYAN says:

    I didn’t know about the 1999 meeting and Stewart Newman does not mention it in his video interview with Mazur. By the way, I have also posted video of the same interview entitle, Will the real theory of evolution please stand up?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3O2Founays

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