Evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo) and behaviour
By:Rinaldo C. Bertossa
Evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo) is a field devoted to the study of how developmental mechanisms lead to species-typical phenotypes. Generally, evo-devo has mainly focused on morphological traits. This issue is a direct attempt to address evolution and development of behaviour within the same framework. Addressing a trait such as behaviour at different levels of the biological hierarchy (i.e. proteins, cells, tissues, organs...) is relevant not only to understanding how behavioural diversity is produced, but also to revealing how these levels are connected to each other to produce a functional phenotype. The contributions in this issue include: discussing the current status of evo-devo research and its impact on studies of behaviour; a revision of the debate about integrating ultimate and proximate perspectives on behaviour; understanding the property of evolvability of neuronal structures underlying behaviour; discussing the idea of gene function conservation in behaviour; interpreting allometric brain variations in mammal species; reviewing molecular and neuronal data underlying the evolution of language; discussing a hypothesis for the evolution of circadian clocks and photoperiodic time measurement; elaborating a developmental idea for the evolution of honey bee societies; and discussing the conservation of neuronal mechanisms underlying taste perception between vertebrates and invertebrates.