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Ontogeny (also ontogenesis) is the origination and development of an
organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological ...

organism
(both physical and psychological, e.g., moral development), usually from the time of
fertilization Fertilisation or fertilization (see American and British English spelling differences#-ise.2C -ize .28-isation.2C -ization.29, spelling differences), also known as generative fertilisation, syngamy and impregnation, is the fusion of gametes ...

fertilization
of the
egg An egg is the organic vessel containing the in which an develops until it can survive on its own, at which point the animal hatches. An egg results from of an . Most s, (excluding s), and lay eggs, although some, such as s, do not. eg ...

egg
to adult. The term can also be used to refer to the study of the entirety of an organism's lifespan. Ontogeny is the developmental history of an organism within its own lifetime, as distinct from
phylogeny A phylogenetic tree (also phylogeny or evolutionary tree Felsenstein J. (2004). ''Inferring Phylogenies'' Sinauer Associates: Sunderland, MA.) is a branching diagram A diagram is a symbolic representation Representation may refer to: Law a ...

phylogeny
, which refers to the
evolution Evolution is change in the heritable Heredity, also called inheritance or biological inheritance, is the passing on of Phenotypic trait, traits from parents to their offspring; either through asexual reproduction or sexual reproduction, ...

evolution
ary history of a species. In practice, writers on evolution often speak of species as "developing" traits or characteristics. This can be misleading. While developmental (i.e., ontogenetic) processes can influence subsequent evolutionary (e.g., phylogenetic) processes (see
evolutionary developmental biology Evolutionary developmental biology (informally, evo-devo) is a field of biological research that compares the developmental processes of different organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''org ...
and
recapitulation theory The theory of recapitulation, also called the biogenetic law or embryological parallelism—often expressed using Ernst Haeckel Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel (; 16 February 1834 – 9 August 1919) was a German zoologist Zoology ()T ...
), individual organisms develop (ontogeny), while species evolve (phylogeny). Ontogeny, embryology and developmental biology are closely related studies and those terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Aspects of ontogeny are
morphogenesis Morphogenesis (from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is a ...
, the development of form; tissue growth; and
cellular differentiation Cellular differentiation is the process in which a cell changes from one cell type A cell type is a classification used to distinguish between morphologically or phenotypically distinct cell forms within a species In biology, a sp ...
. The term ontogeny has also been used in
cell biology Cell biology (also cellular biology or cytology) is a branch of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biolog ...
to describe the development of various
cell types A cell type is a classification used to distinguish between morphologically or phenotypically distinct cell Cell most often refers to: * Cell (biology), the functional basic unit of life Cell may also refer to: Closed spaces * Monastic cell ...
within an organism. Ontogeny is a useful field of study in many disciplines, including
developmental biology Developmental biology is the study of the process by which animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that fu ...
,
developmental psychology Developmental psychology is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe."... modern ...
,
developmental cognitive neuroscienceDevelopmental cognitive neuroscience is an interdisciplinary scientific field devoted to understanding psychological processes and their neurological bases in the developing organism. It examines how the mind changes as children grow up, interrelatio ...
, and
developmental psychobiology Developmental psychobiology is an interdisciplinary field, encompassing developmental psychology Developmental psychology is the scientific study of how and why human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species ...
. Ontogeny is used in
anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, ...
as "the process through which each of us embodies the history of our own making."Toren, Christina. "Comparison and ontogeny." Anthropology, by comparison (2002): 187.


Etymology

The word ''ontogeny'' comes from the
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
ὄν, ''on'' ( gen. ὄντος, ''ontos''), i.e. "being; that which is", which is the
present The present (or here and now) is the time that is associated with the events perception, perceived directly and in the first time, not as a recollection (perceived more than once) or a speculation (predicted, hypothesis, uncertain). It is a peri ...
participle In linguistics, a participle () (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through t ...
of the
verb A verb () is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), an occurrence (''happen'', ''become''), or a state of being (''be'', ''exist'', ''stand''). In the usual description of E ...
εἰμί, ''eimi'', i.e. "to be, I am", and from the suffix ''-geny'' from the Greek -γένεια -''geneia'', which expresses the concept of "mode of production".


Nature and nurture

A seminal 1963 paper by
Niko Tinbergen Nikolaas "Niko" Tinbergen (; ; 15 April 1907 – 21 December 1988) was a Dutch biologist A biologist is a professional who has specialized knowledge in the field of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and livin ...
named ontogeny as one of the four primary questions of biology, along with Huxley's three others: causation, survival value and evolution. Tinbergen emphasized that the change of behavioral ''machinery'' during development was distinct from the change in behavior during development. "We can conclude that the thrush itself, i.e. its behavioral machinery, has changed only if the behavior change occurred while the environment was held constant...When we turn from description to causal analysis, and ask in what way the observed change in behavior machinery has been brought about, the natural first step is to try and distinguish between environmental influences and those within the animal...In ontogeny the conclusion that a certain change is internally controlled (is "innate") is reached by ''elimination''. " (p. 424) Tinbergen was concerned that the elimination of environmental factors is difficult to establish, and the use of the word "innate" is often misleading.


Ontogenetic allometry

Most organisms undergo
allometric Allometry is the study of the relationship of body size to shape A shape is the form of an object or its external boundary, outline, or external surface, as opposed to other properties such as color Color ( American English), or colou ...
changes in
shape A shape or figure is the form of an object or its external boundary, outline, or external Surface (mathematics), surface, as opposed to other properties such as color, Surface texture, texture, or material type. A plane shape, two-dimensional s ...

shape
as they grow and mature, while others engage in
metamorphosis Metamorphosis is a biological process Biological processes are those processes that are vital for an organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All organisms are ...
. Even "reptiles" (non-avian sauropsids, e.g.,
crocodilians Crocodilia (or Crocodylia, both ) is an order of mostly large, predatory Predation is a biological interaction In ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the rel ...
,
turtles Turtles are an Order (biology), order of reptiles known as Testudines, characterized by a turtle shell, shell developed mainly from their ribs. Modern turtles are divided into two major groups, the Pleurodira, side-necked turtles and Cryptodi ...

turtles
,
snakes Snakes are elongated, limbless, carnivorous A carnivore , meaning "meat Meat is animal flesh that is eaten as food. Humans have hunted and killed animals for meat since prehistoric times. The advent of civilization allowed the domes ...

snakes
,
lizards Lizards (suborder In biological classification, the order ( la, wikt:ordo#Latin, ordo) is # a taxonomic rank used in the classification of organisms and recognized by the nomenclature codes. The well-known ranks in descending order are: lif ...

lizards
), in which the offspring are often viewed as miniature adults, show a variety of ontogenetic changes in
morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines *Morphology (archaeology) In archaeology, morphology is the study of the shape of Artifact (archaeology), artefacts and ecofacts. Morphology is a major consid ...
and
physiology Physiology (; ) is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. ...
.


Anthropological application

Comparing ourselves to others is something humans do all the time. "In doing so we are acknowledging not so much our sameness to others or our difference, but rather the commonality that resides in our difference. In other words, because each one of us is at once remarkably similar to, and remarkably different from, all other humans, it makes little sense to think of comparison in terms of a list of absolute similarities and a list of absolute differences. Rather, in respect of all other humans, we find similarities in the ways we are different from one another and differences in the ways we are the same. That we are able to do this is a function of the genuinely historical process that is human ontogeny".


See also

*
Recapitulation theory The theory of recapitulation, also called the biogenetic law or embryological parallelism—often expressed using Ernst Haeckel Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel (; 16 February 1834 – 9 August 1919) was a German zoologist Zoology ()T ...
, the idea that ontogeny recapitulates
phylogeny A phylogenetic tree (also phylogeny or evolutionary tree Felsenstein J. (2004). ''Inferring Phylogenies'' Sinauer Associates: Sunderland, MA.) is a branching diagram A diagram is a symbolic representation Representation may refer to: Law a ...

phylogeny
*
Organogenesis Organogenesis is the phase of embryonic development that starts at the end of gastrulation and continues until birth Birth is the act or process of bearing or bringing forth offspring, also referred to in technical contexts as parturition. In ma ...
* Ontogeny (psychoanalysis) *
Phylogenetics In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanism ...

Phylogenetics
* Phylogeny (psychoanalysis) *
Noogenesis Noogenesis is the emergence In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, ...
*
Apoptosis Apoptosis (from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ) ...

Apoptosis
- Cell death in specific locations due to inherited genetic instructions.


Notes and references


External links

* * {{Authority control Developmental biology