This is the first and only book, so far, to deal with the causal basis of evolution from an epigenetic view. By revealing the epigenetic "user" of the "genetic toolkit", this book demonstrates the primacy of epigenetic mechanisms and epigenetic information in generating evolutionary novelties.

The author convincingly supports his theory with a host of examples from the most varied fields of biology, by emphasizing changes in developmental pathways as the basic source of evolutionary change in metazoans.

Key Features

  • Original and thought provoking--a radically new theory that overcomes the present difficulties of the theory of evolution
  • Is the first and only theory that uses epigenetic mechanisms and principles for explaining evolution of metazoans
  • Takes an integrative approach and shows a wide range of learning


Evolutionary biologists, developmental biologists and ecologists

Table of Contents

0. Introduction - The Explanatory Conundrum and the New Perspective in Modern Biology

Part One: Epigenetic Basis of Metazoan Heredity


1. Control Systems And Determination Of Phenotypic Traits In Metazoans

2. Neural Manipulation Of Gene Expression

3. Epigenetic Control Of Reproduction

4. Epigenetic Control Of Early Development

5. Neural Control Of Post-Phylotypic Development

6. The Epigenetic System Of Inheritance - An Outline


Part 2: Neural Developmental Premises of Evolutionary Adaption


7. Evolution And Stress Responses To Changes In Environment

8. Behavioral Adaptation To Changed Conditions Of Living

9. Ontogeny: the workshop of evolutionary change

10. Intragenerational Developmental Plasticity


Part 3: Epigenetics of Circumevolutionary Phenomena and the Mechanism of the Evolutionary Change


11. Transgenerational Developmental Plasticity – An Epitome Of Evolutionary Change

12. Evolution Of Metazoans And Their Control System


Part Four: Epigenetics of Metazoan Evolution


13. Origins Of Evolutionary Novelty

14. Evolution By Loss

15. Evolution By Reverting To Ancestral Characters

16. Neural Crest-Determined Evolutionary Novelties

17. Evolutionary Convergences: The Trend Toward Sameness In Metazoan Evolution

18. Species And Allopatric Speciation

19. Epigenetics Of Sympatric Speciation – Speciation As A Mechanism Of Evolution


No. of pages:
© 2012
Print ISBN:
Electronic ISBN:

About the author

Nelson Cabej

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Biology, University of Tirana, Tirana, Albania


"Cabej (biology, U. of Tirana, Albania) explains the epigenetic principles of evolution (as opposed to the theory of evolution as determined by changes in genes) and reconstructs the developmental mechanisms of evolutionary changes in metazoans, based on empirical evidence. He focuses on the mechanisms of the generation of the evolutionary innovations from the influence of environment on heredity rather than the role of natural selection. He discusses control systems and determination of phenotypic traits in metazoans, neural manipulation of gene expression, epigenetic control of reproduction and early development, neural control of postphylotypic development, and the epigenetic system of inheritance. He follows with description of neural-developmental premises of evolutionary adaptation, including evolution and stress responses and behavioral adaptation to changes in environment, ontogeny, and intragenerational developmental plasticity; epigenetics of circumevolutionary phenomena and the mechanism of evolutionary change, including transgenerational developmental plasticity and the evolution of metazoans and their control system; and the origins of evolutionary novelty, evolution by loss or by reverting to ancestral characters, neural crest-determined evolutionary novelties, evolutionary convergences, species and allopatric speciation, and sympatric speciation. He presents the available evidence for his theory, rather than illustrating an established theory, and includes a comparative presentation of the neo-Darwinian view to his epigenetic explanation. There is no index."--Reference and Research Book News, October 2012