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Special Issue: Developmental Plasticity: From Mechanisms to Evolutionary Processes




Summary: From neurobiology to plant science, this review explores possible mechanisms of sound-induced developmental plasticity allowing embryonic responses to acoustic information. It reveals cerebral and cellular machinery for spontaneous sound reactivity.

Summary: Combining concepts of evolvability from evo-devo and quantitative genetics reveals when and why developmental plasticity really matters to adaptive evolution.

Summary: Maternal stress in pregnancy influences offspring phenotypes. This Review considers the evidence for possible mechanisms involved in signalling to the fetus that its mother is experiencing stress.

Summary: Development is strongly environment dependent, yet many organisms also actively modify their ontogenetic environments. We explore the interactions between plasticity, symbionts and niche construction in dung beetle development and evolution.

Summary: This Review outlines how varying food availability impacts developmental plasticity in C. elegans, and how memory of certain early life experiences in one generation can be transmitted to the next generations.

Summary: Food insecurity is a modern public health issue associated with poor physical and mental health outcomes. To better inform this issue, here we review well-controlled studies of food insecurity in birds and rodents that reveal a potential role for ancient, adaptive developmental plasticity mechanisms in these outcomes.

Summary: More than 20 years after the proposal of immune memory in invertebrates, both its physiological and molecular mechanisms remain poorly understood. Additionally, there is uncertainty about whether its variation can be attributed to phenotypic plasticity.

Summary: Exposure to high levels of glucocorticoids can mediate adaptive plasticity during development, as well as allostatic overload in later life, especially in the context of the brain.

Summary: Condition transfer effects are widespread; this Review provides new insights into the induction and importance of this form of maternal effect.

Summary: This Review discusses the evidence that both abiotic and biotic early-life environmental factors can induce changes in putative mechanisms of developmental plasticity, epigenetics and microbiome in birds.

Summary: A potentially common but hidden form of developmental plasticity is variation in developmental trajectory towards a common final phenotype, which can have major lasting effects on physiology and life history.

Summary: Epigenetic diversity is spatially associated with genetic diversity in wild populations, although less for weakly genetically differentiated populations. This suggests a role for epigenetic marks in local-scale adaptation.

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