"Hopeful monsters" are the center of Olivia Judson's post at the New York Times' The Wild Side. Back in the 1930s, geneticist Richard Goldschmidt thought that sudden morphological changes could occur quickly due to mutations in an embryo, creating a so-called hopeful monster that might have an advantage over other creatures -- an idea that was derided at the time. Since the advent of genomics, though, Judson says that hopeful monsters are back, but now are discussed in the less fanciful terms of "large morphological changes due to mutations acting on single genes that influence embryonic development."
For All the Hopeful Monsters Out There
Jan 24, 2008