Developmental exaptation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Developmental exaptation is the process through which pre-existing characteristics of the developmental program facilitate evolutionary changes in development, by providing an internal environment that is conducive to a certain change. Developmental exaptation can be manifested at all levels of the developmental process, including gene regulation, cellular behavior, tissue differentiation, morphogenetic movement, relative timing of developmental events, and more. Developmental exaptation can facilitate changes in highly conserved, slowly evolving genes. It is the inherent prerequisite for cases of gene or gene network co-option in the evolution of development and is probably involved in many cases of evolutionary novelties.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationEvolutionary Developmental Biology: A Reference Guide
EditorsLaura Nuno de la Rosa, Gerd Müller
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer International Publishing AG
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-33038-9
StatePublished - 2017


  • Constraint
  • Gene regulatory networks morphogenesis
  • Novelty
  • cooption


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