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Parallelism, deep homology, and evo-devo


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Parallelism has been the subject of a number of recent studies that have resulted in reassessment of the term and the process. Parallelism has been aligned with homology leaving convergence as the only case of homoplasy, regarded as a transition between homologous and convergent characters, and defined as the independent evolution of genetic traits. Another study advocates abolishing the term parallelism and treating all cases of the independent evolution of characters as convergence. With the sophistication of modern genomics and genetic analysis, parallelism of characters of the phenotype is being discovered to reflect parallel genetic evolution. Approaching parallelism from developmental and genetic perspectives enables us to tease out the degree to which the reuse of pathways represent deep homology and is a major task for evolutionary developmental biology in the coming decades.