Start-up Workshop: Evolvability

A startup meeting regarding the theme "Evolvability: A new and unifying concept in evolutionary biology?". Focusing on refining and redefining the "key questions" about evolvability.

During the academic year 2019/2020 the Centre for Advanced Study will host a research group on the theme of "Evolvability: A new and unifying concept in evolutionary biology?". This workshop will serve as a startup meeting for the resarch group with the agenda of refining or even redefining a set of ten "key questions" about evolvability (see below) that are intended to guide the subsequent work of the group. Presenters will highlight aspects of evolvability in need of further work. These will be interspersed with general discussions of the ten questions. The workshop is open for all interested.

Organized by: Thomas F. Hansen and Christophe Pélabon, Centre for Advanced Study (CAS): Research group on evolvability.



Thursday 15th and Friday 16th of August: Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, Drammensveien 78, Oslo.

Saturday 17th of August: University of Oslo (Blinderen), Biology building, room 3508.


Thursday 15:

09:30 - 10:00: Academy opens.

10:00 - 10:30: Welcome and introductory remarks: Hansen and Pélabon

10:30 - 11:00: "The history of evolvability": Laura Nuño de la Rosa

11:00 - 11:30: Discussion: Key question 1

11:30 - 12:00: "Evolvability: Philosophical issues": Ingo Brigandt & Alan Love

12:00 - 12:30: Discussion: Key question 2

12:30 - 13:30: Lunch

13:30 - 14:30: Plenary: "Contingent evolvability: How mechanisms shape evolution":

Günter Wagner

14:30 - 15:15: Discussion: Key question 3

15:15 - 16:00: Discussion: Key question 4

16:00 - 16:30: Coffee break

16:30 - 17:00: "The passive origin of population-genetic parameters": Michael Lynch

17:00 - 17:45: Discussion: Key question 5

17:45 - 18:15: General discussion


Friday 16:

09:15 - 10:15: Plenary: "How many evolvabilities are there?" David Houle

10:15 - 11:00: Discussion: Key question 6

11:00 - 11:30: Coffee break

11:30 - 12:00: "Apparent evolvability of flowers: Phenotypic disparity in relation to

pollination function and constraints": W. Scott Armbruster

12:00 - 12:45: Discussion: Key question 7

12:45 - 14:00: Lunch

14:00 - 14:30: "Evolvability and macroevolutionary success": Lee Hsiang Liow

14:30 - 15:15: Discussion: Key question 8

15:15 - 16:00: Discussion: Key question 9

16:00 - 16:30: Coffee break

16:30 - 17:15: "Meta-analysis of evolvability": Christophe Pélabon + discussion

17:15 - 18:00: Discussion: Key question 10

18:00 - 18:15: General discussion

19:00: Dinner at the academy for invited guests.


Saturday 17 (at the University):

09:30 - 10:50: Short research talks

09:30: Arthur Porto: "Phenomic tools for the study of evolvability"

09:50: Jane Reid: "Additive variance in fitness: magnitude, maintenance, sexes and immigration"

10:10: Masahito Tsuboi: "Evolution of phenotypic variance and its macroevolutionary consequences"

10:30: Ezra Miller: "The mathematics of shape variation"

10:50 - 1120: Coffee break

11:20 - 13:00 Short research talks

11:20: Mihaela Pavlicev: "Evolvability: What are we still missing?"

11:40: Jacqueline Sztepanacz: "The evolution of sexual dimorphism in Drosophila"

12:00: Øystein Opedal: "The evolvability of flowers: insights and outlooks"

12:20: Geir H. Bolstad: "Evolvability and divergence"

12:40: Thomas F. Hansen: "Conditional evolvability"

13:00 - 14:00: Lunch

14:00 - 16:00: General discussion (planning work on the key questions)


Key questions (with moderator in parentheses):

1. Is the concept and study of evolvability a significant new paradigm in

evolutionary research, or are these just old questions in a new guise? (Laura

Nuño de la Rosa)


2. What is the significance of dispositional concepts in biology? (Alan Love,

Ingo Brigandt)


3. What is the relationship of evolvability to properties of the GP map such as

modularity, robustness, additivity, pleiotropy and epistasis? (Mihaela



4. What are the molecular and developmental mechanisms enabling evolvability,

and to what extent is evolvability restricted to cis-regulatory modules? (Günter



5. Are genomic and organismal architectures adapted to facilitate evolvability or is

evolvability a side effect of other evolutionary processes? (Thomas F. Hansen)


6. What are the best ways of measuring evolvability? (Geir H. Bolstad)


7. Does lack of evolvability constrain adaptation? If so, on what time scales? (Kjetil

L. Voje)


8. How is evolvability related to speciation, ecological success and extinction? (Lee

Hsiang Liow)


9. How do inheritance systems such as sex, recombination, mutation rates and

mating systems, as well as ecological factors such as population structure and

size influence evolvability? (Jacqueline Sztepanacz)


10. How do new character identities evolve and what determines character

evolvability and innovation? (David Houle)

Published Aug. 13, 2019 11:42 AM - Last modified Mar. 8, 2021 10:08 AM