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Plant Evolutionary Developmental Biology
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Book description

Compared to animals, plants have been largely neglected in evolutionary developmental biology. Mainstream research has focused on developmental genetics, while a rich body of knowledge in comparative morphology is still to be exploited. No integrated account is available. In this volume, Minelli fills this gap using the same approach he gave to animals, revisiting traditional concepts and providing an articulated analysis of genetic and molecular data. Topics covered include leaf complexity and the evolution of flower organs, handedness, branching patterns, flower symmetry and synorganization, and less conventional topics such as fractal patterns of plant organization. Also discussed is the hitherto neglected topic of the evolvability of temporal phenotypes like a plant's annual, biennial or perennial life cycle, flowering time and the timing of abscission of flower organs. This will be informative reading for anyone in the field of plant evo-devo, from students to lecturers and researchers.


'An evo-devo tour de force through the flowering plants, written with the exceptional clarity that we have come to expect of Alessandro Minelli. The book encompasses long-established ideas such as heterochrony, newer approaches based on families of developmental genes, and controversial concepts such as a botanical phylotypic stage and the possible saltational evolution of floral organs. And all the topics are discussed against the background of a modern phylogenetic tree of the angiosperms. Of the many fascinating evo-devo phenomena discussed, two of my favourites are the evolutionary reduction in complexity in parasitic plants that have completely lost the ability to photosynthesize, and developmental reversals of floral symmetry, for example from zygomorphic to actinomorphic and back again. This is a scholarly work with considerable attention to detail, yet at the same time it is immensely readable.'

Wallace Arthur - Emeritus Professor of Zoology, National University of Ireland, Galway

'It is a tour de force (94 pages of bibliography) and demonstrates the depth and enormous breadth of the literature examining gene expression in flowers and the various meristems of angiosperms. … Yes, as the publisher claims, this is a volume that will be useful, whether the reader is a student, lecturer, or engaged in research.'

Michael Christianson Source: The Quarterly Review of Biology

‘… this book is a valuable journey through the generalities of plant evo-devo with an added insight from an animal perspective … By bringing his zoological experience into the plant scenario, Minelli shows that communication between different evo-devo branches not only is useful and beneficial to encourage new research questions and experimental programs, but also that is necessary for gaining a better understanding of evolutionary processes.’

Source: Evolution

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