caterpillarEvo Devo: Sharing genes for 3.5 billion years explores the emerging science of “evo-devo”—short for evolutionary and developmental biology—which has revolutionized scientists’ understanding of the mechanisms of evolution. Since the first single-celled organisms developed on our planet millions of years ago, more than a billion species have evolved, thrived, gone extinct, and given way to other species.

"Evo-devo tries to understand a fundamental question—how does evolution create new things? How does this force of nature, shaping life on the planet, work at fundamental levels?" (Dan Medeiros, a leading evo-devo researcher and Associate Professor of EBIO at the University of Colorado, Boulder).

The exhibit explores the main ideas behind evo-devo, such as how genes act like switches to control the form of an organism as it develops. It explains connections this fundamental research has to our daily lives. It also highlights some of the key research that has contributed to this exciting area of science—from Darwin’s early ideas about natural selection, to today’s gene sequencing and the Human Genome Project.

This exhibit was produced through collaboration between the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Museum of Natural History at the University of Colorado Boulder and was funded by the National Science Foundation.