Meeting Abstract

S10-1  Sunday, Jan. 8 07:45 - 08:00  Introduction to the symposium Physical and Genetic Mechanisms for Evolutionary Novelty NEWMAN, SA*; STEWART, TA; WAGNER, GP; New York Medical College; Yale University; Yale University tom.stewart@yale.edu http://www.tomstewart.org

For the past century, genetic approaches have dominated explanatory frameworks for biological development. There has also been a parallel tradition, beginning even earlier, that has employed physical concepts to understand tissue morphogenesis, developmental pattern formation, and morphological variation. In recent years these two streams have begun to merge within the discipline of evolutionary developmental biology. This integration has been fostered by newer knowledge of deep conservation of molecular pathways in both animals and plants and their capacity to mobilize the often exotic physics of chemically and mechanically excitable condensed materials, as well as advances in mathematical and computational modeling of complex systems. Physical principles and processes (e.g., Turing instabilities and oscillator dynamics, viscoelasticity, fractal geometry) are being applied to developmental systems with implication for a variety of problems, notably the generation of novel characters. Despite recent efforts along these lines, the challenge remains of finding common themes among these “physico-genetic” approaches that would permit their integration into the mainstream of biological science. This symposia, entitled ‘Physical and Genetic Mechanisms for Evolutionary Novelty’, aims to promote such an integration by highlighting researchers who working at the interface of these fields with the shared goal of explaining evolutionary novelty.