Bayesian models of development
SourceTrends in Ecology & Evolution, 31, 4, (2016), pp. 260-268
Article / Letter to editor
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Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Until recently, biology lacked a framework for studying how information from genes, parental effects, and different personal experiences is combined across the lifetime to affect phenotypic development. Over the past few years, researchers have begun to build such a framework, using models that incorporate Bayesian updating to study the evolution of developmental plasticity and developmental trajectories. Here, we describe the merits of a Bayesian approach to development, review the main findings and implications of the current set of models, and describe predictions that can be tested using protocols already used by empiricists. We suggest that a Bayesian perspective affords a simple and tractable way to conceptualize, explain, and predict how information combines across the lifetime to affect development.
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