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Homology, Genes, and Evolutionary Innovation$
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Günter P. Wagner

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691156460

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691156460.001.0001

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Introduction: What This Book Aims to Do and What It Is Not

Introduction: What This Book Aims to Do and What It Is Not

(p.1) Introduction: What This Book Aims to Do and What It Is Not
Homology, Genes, and Evolutionary Innovation

Günter P. Wagner

Princeton University Press

This book examines homology, the correspondence of characters from different species or even within the same organism, from a mechanistic perspective. Homology is explained by derivation from a common ancestor that had the same character or trait. This explanation applies at least to characters from different species. Accordingly, this concept has applications in many fields of biology by referring to morphological characters, behaviors, proteins and genes, gene regulatory networks, and developmental mechanisms and processes. The book considers one class of homology relationships, that between morphological characters, and describes the so-called character identity networks. It argues that the evolutionary origin of characters and body plans is the origin of those gene regulatory networks that underlie character identity.

Keywords:   homology, common ancestor, morphological characters, genes, gene regulatory networks, developmental mechanisms, character identity network, evolution, body plans, character identity

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