April 29, 2013

UMass Amherst Biologists Propose a New Research Roadmap for Connecting Genes to Ecology

A team of researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is proposing a new investigative roadmap for the field of evolutionary developmental biology, or “evo devo,” to better understand how innovation at the genetic level can lead to ecological adaptations over time. Evo devo seeks to understand the specific genetic mechanisms underlying evolutionary change.

Seven UMass Amherst authors, all biologists but with diverse research programs including evolutionary genetics, developmental biology, biomechanics and behavioral ecology, describe the new framework they created to link genes to ecology in the May issue of Trends in Ecology and Evolution. They propose a set of hypotheses that can form the basis for further studies. “We advocate strengthened collaborations,” they point out, among evo devo disciplines “to consider all links from genes to resource use.”