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Towards a Theory of Development$
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Alessandro Minelli and Thomas Pradeu

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199671427

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199671427.001.0001

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Reproduction and scaffolded developmental processes: an integrated evolutionary perspective

Reproduction and scaffolded developmental processes: an integrated evolutionary perspective

Chapter:
(p.183) Chapter 12 Reproduction and scaffolded developmental processes: an integrated evolutionary perspective
Source:
Towards a Theory of Development
Author(s):

James Griesemer

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199671427.003.0012

This chapter expands conceptual boundaries beyond traditional views of biological development as a cellular process by considering molecular development in the life cycle of the retrovirus HIV-1 and other complex life cycles such as those of malaria parasites. An implication of the expanded view presented is a reconsideration and expansion of the concept of a hybrid beyond genetic hybrids formed in Mendelian crosses to a concept of hybrid developmental entities due to reproduction from sources conveying different developmental capacities. Most biological reproduction involves the temporary formation of a hybrid consisting of a developmental system and scaffolds that facilitate development. Scaffolds can be other developing systems such as organisms, artefacts, or various environmental facilitators of development. A general, abstract account of reproducers as units of reproduction is offered which characterizes development as a process of acquiring (and refining) the capacity to reproduce by means of the material overlap of parts between parent and offspring entities. The chapter also formulates a view of the scientific theory as comprising three components: a set of core principles, a family of models, and a theoretical perspective that coordinates model-building and empirical investigation. Prospects for a theory of development in the expanded sense, involving expanded concepts of development and reproduction, are briefly considered.

Keywords:   complex life cycle, development, HIV, hybrid, material overlap, model, reproducer, reproduction, scaffold, theory

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