Evo Devo is evolutionary development biology, the third revolution in evolutionary biology. The first was marked by the publication of The Origin of Species. The second occurred in the early 20th century, when Darwin's theories were merged with the study of genetics. Now the insights of Evo Devo are astonishing the biology world by showing how the endless forms of animals - butterflies and zebras, trilobites and dinosaurs, apes and humans - are made and evolved. Perhaps the most surprising finding of Evo Devo is the discovery that a small number of primitive genes led to the formation of fundamental organs and appendages in all animal forms. The gene that causes humans to form arms and legs is the same gene that causes birds and insects to form wings, and fish to form fins. Similarly, one ancient gene has led to the creation of eyes across the animal kingdom. Changes in the way this ancient toolkit of genes is used have created all the diversity that surrounds us. Sean Carroll is the ideal author to lead the curious on this intellectual adventure. He is the acknowledged leader of the field, and his seminal discoveries have been featured in Time and the New York Times.
Sean B. Carroll is an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and professor of Genetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He lives in Madison.