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Conrad Hal Waddington: the last Renaissance biologist?


Conrad Hal Waddington was a leading embryologist and geneticist from the 1930s to the 1950s. He is remembered mainly for his concepts of the 'epigenetic landscape' and 'genetic assimilation'. This article reviews his life and work, and enquires to what extent his ideas are relevant tools for understanding the biological problems of today.

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Figure 1: Conrad Hal Waddington.
Figure 2: The existence of an organizer in higher vertebrates.
Figure 3: The epigenetic landscape.
Figure 4: The callosities on the ventral surface of the ostrich. The callosities are depicted by arrows.


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I am grateful to A. McLaren, C. Stern and L. Wolpert for comments on the manuscript, but I know they do not necessarily agree with all my statements.

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Slack, J. Conrad Hal Waddington: the last Renaissance biologist?. Nat Rev Genet 3, 889–895 (2002).

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