Gerd B. Müller

Gerd B. Müller

Department of Theoretical Biology; University of Vienna

Müller is a theoretical biologist who concentrates on the role of developmental processes in evolutionary innovation. He advocates an expanded framework of evolution and has published numerous papers and books on the ongoing change in evolutionary theory.

Müller has received an M.D. and a Ph.D. from the University of Vienna, Austria, where he is now Professor of Zoology, head of the Department of Theoretical Biology, and speaker of the Center for Organismal Systems Biology. He is President of the European Society for Evolutionary Developmental Biology and President of the KLI, an Institute for the Advanced Study of Natural Complex Systems at Klosterneuburg, Austria.

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Müller's primary scientific interest is the relationship between development and evolution in the generation of organismal form (EvoDevo). In his integrative approach he combines experimental, bioinformatic, and theoretical work. The latter is focused on evolutionary innovation, EvoDevo theory, and the extension of the Evolutionary Synthesis.

Müller is on the editorial boards of several scientific journals, including Biological Theory, where he serves as an Associate Editor. He is also the leading editor of the Vienna Series in Theoretical Biology, a book series devoted to theoretical developments in the biosciences, published by MIT Press.

In his book, Origination of Organismal Form, edited together with Stuart Newman, he describes generative mechanisms that were plausibly involved in the origination of disparate body forms during pre-Cambrian periods. He proposes epigenetic factors, such as physical determinants and environmental parameters, that may have led to the spontaneous emergence of bodyplans and organ forms during a period when multicellular organisms had relatively plastic morphologies. He argues that similar tissue based mechanisms were also responsible for the emergence of structural novelty during later periods of organismal evolution.

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"The entrenched concentration on a restricted repertoire of evolutionary factors had stifled theoretical progress for a long time, but finally these limitations are overcome."

(Beyond Spandrels: S.J. Gould, EvoDevo, and the Extended Synthesis, p. 8)

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