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Randomness in Evolution$
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John Tyler Bonner

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691157016

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691157016.001.0001

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The Division of Labor

The Division of Labor

Two Cases of the Return of Randomness in Higher Forms

(p.101) Chapter 6 The Division of Labor
Randomness in Evolution

John Tyler Bonner

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses two cases where, in cell and insect societies, there is a small reversal, and randomness is brought back to the fore to play a key role in their respective developments. During the course of evolution, the division of labor has arisen a number of times and it is determined in different ways. First there is the conventional method associated with organisms that develop from a single cell, such as an egg that undergoes repeated cleavages with the increase in size. Then, there are those cases where the division of labor arises in separate units, be they cells, as in cellular slime molds, or whole organisms, as in insect societies. What will be novel here is that in these latter cases there can be specially engineered periods of nongenetic or phenotypic variation that play a key role in determining the division of labor. It is a return to randomness—where randomness is put to good use.

Keywords:   cell societies, insect societies, evolutionary biology, biological randomness, evolution, division of labor

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