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Defining the Boundaries of Development wih Plasticity

Abstract : The concept of plasticity has always been present in the history of developmental biology, both within the theory of epigenesis and within morphogenesis studies. However this tradition relies also upon a genetic conception of plasticity. Founded upon the concepts of "phenotypic plasticity" and "reaction norm," this genetic conception focuses on the array of possible phenotypic change in relation to diversified environments. Another concept of plasticity can be found in recent publications by some developmental biologists (Gilbert, West-Eberhard). I argue that these authors adopt a "broad conception of plasticity" that is closely related to a notion of development as something that is ongoing throughout an organism's lifecycle, and has no clear-cut boundaries. However, I suggest that given a narrow conception of plasticity, one can define temporal boundaries for development that are linked to specific features of the morphological process, which are different from behavioral and physiological processes.
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Antonine Nicoglou. Defining the Boundaries of Development wih Plasticity. Biological Theory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press (MIT Press), 2011, The Boundaries of Development, 6 (1), pp.36-47. ⟨10.1007/s13752-011-0003-5⟩. ⟨halshs-00792378⟩

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