Embryonic development represents a balancing act between robustness and evolvability. For individual organisms, developmental processes must be robust to environmental fluctuations and the influence of segregating mutations. But at the same time, development must be able to evolve if populations are to adapt. Understanding this interplay requires the integration of genetic and evolutionary approaches, a physical understanding of how the embryo develops, and modern methods for assessing developmental phenotypes (from developmental rate to embryonic shape to developmental gene expression profiles).
Recently, there has been increasing interest in the importance of temporal regulation during development. How such temporal regulation emerged and how it is controlled at a molecular level are still poorly understood. We aim to bring together a broad range of research interests – from evolution to timing to cell biology – to build potential collaborations to tackle this intriguing problem.