Brian T Shea*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Paedomorphosis is a term used to describe an evolutionary transformation via 'heterochrony' which is characterized by the retention of ancestral juvenile characters in later ontogenetic stages of descendants. Several distinct processes may underlie paedomorphic juvenilization: 'neoteny' involves a retardation of somatic development relative to the timing of sexual maturity and terminal size in descendants; 'progenesis' implies precocious sexual maturation such that previous adult features or shapes are never attained in descendants; and 'hypomorphosis' results when simple size decreases yields a juvenilized phenotype in descendants through truncation of ancestral allometric (size/shape) trajectories. Case studies of paedomorphosis ranging from snails to salamanders and porpoises to humans are considered here in terms of phenotypic transformations, genetic controls, and ecological contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBrenner's Encyclopedia of Genetics
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9780080961569
ISBN (Print)9780123749840
StatePublished - Feb 27 2013


  • Acceleration
  • Allometry
  • Axolotl
  • Heterochrony
  • Hypomorphosis
  • Juvenilization
  • Metamorphosis
  • Neoteny
  • Paedomorphosis
  • Peramorphosis
  • Progenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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