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Evolutionary developmental biology (evo�devo) has its origins in comparative embryology, but it was more recent advances in developmental genetics that really defined the field. Evo�devo attempts to integrate an understanding of developmental processes into the Modern Synthesis of genetics and evolution, which classically only looked at how allele frequencies changed in populations. This Focus issue ofNature Reviews Genetics examines some of the conceptual advances that evo�devo is offering to evolutionary biology as a whole, and looks at how both new approaches such as genomics and classical approaches such as palaeontology are supporting these advances. 

The accompanying 
library collects the most relevant recent publications from across Nature Publishing Group.

Perspective

Evo�devo: extending the evolutionary synthesis

Gerd B. M�ller

doi:10.1038/nrg2219

Nature Reviews Genetics 8943-949

Evo–devo is now a mature field encompassing a wide range of research areas. The author offers his assessment of its main theoretical implications and challenges for the immediate future.

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Reviews

Written in stone: fossils, genes and evo�devo

Rudolf A. Raff

doi:10.1038/nrg2225

Nature Reviews Genetics 8911-920

Evo�devo has its origins in both palaentology and developmental genetics, but there is a tendency to overlook the former as being old-fashioned. However, integrating information from both sources is essential to generating realistic hypotheses about how developmental processes evolved.

Evolutionary developmental biology and genomics

Cristian Ca�estro, Hayato Yokoi & John H. Postlethwait

doi:10.1038/nrg2226

Nature Reviews Genetics 8932-942

The genomics era offers many exciting opportunities to answer questions in evo�devo. Newly sequenced genomes of phylogenetically diverse organisms allow us to chronicle the gain and loss of morphological features and correlate them with their genetic underpinnings.

The road to modularity

G�nter P. Wagner, Mihaela Pavlicev & James M. Cheverud

doi:10.1038/nrg2267

Nature Reviews Genetics 8921-931

A module is a linked group of phenotypic traits that depend on each other but are relatively independent of other modules. The insight that developmental mechanisms are modular is important for their evolution, making modularity a key concept in evo�devo and beyond.


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