Edelman, G. Topobiology


Edelman, G. Topobiology



Gerald M. Edelman. Topobiology: an introduction to molecular embryology

If you had a complete copy of a dinosaur’s DNA and the genetic code, you still would not be able to make a dinosaur – or even determine what one looked like. Why? How do animals get their shape and how does shape evolve? In this important book, Nobel laureate Gerald M. Edelman challenges the notion that an understanding of the genetic code and of cell differentiation is sufficient to answer these questions.

Rather, he argues, a trio of related issues must also be investigated – the development of form, the evolution of form, and the morphological and functional bases of behavior. Edelman explores these three issues from the perspective of what he calls “topology”, the study of place-dependent interactions at the surfaces of living cells that regulate the processes of embryological development. Topobiology presents an introduction to molecular embryology and describes a comprehensive hypothesis to account for the evolution and development of animal form. A critical part of his previous work Neural Darwinism, this morphoregulator hypothesis links the control of genes to the action of molecules that bind cells together into collectives. With this new work, Edelman continues his provocative analysis of problems in development, evolution, and neuroscience, which together constitute the major challenge to be confronted by modern biology as it approaches the millennium.



Publication Date



Basic Books


New York


chemical embryology, molecular biology


The Rockefeller University Library Level B QL 963 E21 1988

The Rockefeller University Library President's Office OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

Edelman, G. Topobiology