Hello, my name is Nipam Patel and
I'm a professor at the University
of California at Berkeley.
I'm going to speak today about
the evolution of morphological novelty.
This slide just shows a little bit of
the incredible diversity that we see in
animals around us today.
Scientists have long been fascinated
in how this diversity has come about
through evolution, and
I'm going to talk today a little bit about
our understanding nowadays about how
some of this diversity has come to be.
Scientists have understood that this
diversity comes about both at the level
within populations, so on the left, for
example, you see a group of butterflies.
These butterflies are actually all of
the same species, but they show incredible
diversity at a morphological level,
in this case, in their coloring, and
on the right you see diversity at
a larger distance between species.
We see a leech, an elephant,
a bird and a millipede and
again this illustrates the incredible
diversity that we have in organisms.
What we've come to understand is
that if we examine the molecular and
genetic details of development, that is,
how embryos go from an individual
fertilized egg into the final adult
organism, then we can understand
development in enough detail to begin to
ask how developmental changes actually
generate new morphologies, and
this is an exciting field in science.
In this slide we see a single
egg on the left hand side and
all eggs of most animals look
very similar, but of course,
differences in how they develop lead
to incredible differences in the final
organism that results, so here we see
an elephant, a human and a butterfly.
So how is it that this comes about?
This has been a question now that we've
been addressing in a variety of labs in
a variety of ways.