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Edited by Peter Gluckman, Mark Hanson. Published by Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2006, £85.00, pp 519. ISBN 0-521-84743-5
Congratulations to the desert locust—for its first appearance in Archives. What, you may well be wondering, warrants this illustrious debut. Well, Schistocerca gregaria, as it is known to its close friends, is one of several examples from comparative biology that are used to illustrate the concept of development plasticity. At the larval stage, this insect is able to “choose” which phenotype to express—if food in the vicinity is plentiful, then it will develop a non-migratory wing pattern; if scarce, then its wings will be more geared towards flying in search of food. Animal studies have now firmly established that there are windows of opportunity during development in which environmental factors can affect which phenotype is expressed. This is one …
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