Alessandro Minelli

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Alessandro Minelli
Born (1948-12-20) December 20, 1948 (age 70)
Alma materUniversity of Padova 1966-70
Known forevo-devo
Scientific career
Fieldszoology, evo-devo
InstitutionsUniversity of Padova

Alessandro Minelli (born December 20, 1948) is an Italian biologist and a professor emeritus of Zoology in the Faculty of Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences of the University of Padova mainly working on evo-devo subjects.


Alessandro Minelli studied Natural Sciences at the University of Padova 1966-70 with a master's degree in 1970. In 1983 he took a sabbatical in Munich. From 1987-2012 Minelli was a Full Professor of Zoology at the University of Padova.

Activity in international organisations[edit]

  • International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (member since 1989, president 1995–2001)
  • European Society for Evolutionary Biology (vice-president 1997–99)
  • International Organization of Systematics and Evolutionary Biology (member since 1996)
  • Editorial activity in several zoological journals.

Academic memberships[edit]

  • Accademia Nazionale delle Scienze, detta dei LX
  • Accademia Nazionale Italiana di Entomologia
  • Istituto Veneto di Scienze Lettere ed Arti
  • Istituto Lombardo Accademia di Scienze e Lettere
  • Accademia Olimpica
  • Ateneo di Treviso
  • Honorary Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society of London.[1]

Scientific contributions[edit]

Minelli is best known[according to whom?] for his studies in evolutionary developmental biology, or evo-devo. His main contributions are about the conceptual foundations of this discipline.[2][3][4][5][6] In his search for an intellectual framework common to evolutionary biology and developmental biology, he has strongly argued against the widespread adultocentrism,[2] that is, interpreting development, in a more or less distinct teleological vein, as a process targeted to the production of an adult animal or plant. At variance with the most popular trend in evo-devo, which is based on comparative developmental genetics and has a clear focus on early stages of embryonic development, the approach defended by Minelli is strongly rooted in comparative morphology and aims to extend to postembryonic development. His approach moves from a revisitation of the traditional concepts of homology. According to Minelli, the homology relationships between two structures is necessarily limited to selected features of those structures, thus requiring the adoption a factorial, or combinatorial concept of homology.[7] Minelli has introduced new concepts, such as axis paramorphism [8] (useful for understanding the evolutionary relationships between the main axis of the body and its appendages) and those of eosegment and merosegment,[9] through which he suggests a radical revisitation of the architecture of the body of segmented animals.[10][11][12] Minelli has also explored the implication of evo-devo for biological systematics,[13][14] speciation[15] and the evolution of life cycles.[16][17]



  • Minelli A. – Plant Evolutionary Developmental Biology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2018).
  • Minelli A. – Perspectives in Animal Phylogeny and Evolution. xiii+345 pp. Oxford: Oxford University Press (Jan. 2009)
  • Minelli A. – Forms of Becoming. 242 pp. Princeton: Princeton University Press (April 2009). [Italian: Forme del divenire. xiii+218 pp. Einaudi, Torino (2007)]
  • Minelli A. & Fusco G. (eds.) Evolving Pathways. Key Themes in Evolutionary Developmental Biology. xviii+426 pp. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2008).
  • Minelli A., Ortalli G. & Sanga G. (eds.) – Animal Names. Venezia: Istituto Veneto di Scienze Lettere ed Arti. ix+574 pp. (2005).
  • Minelli A. – Evo-Devo. 109 pp. Roma: Nuova Argos (2004).
  • Minelli A. – The Development of Animal Form. Cambridge-New York, Cambridge University Press (2003).[18]


  • Golden Medal 2002 for the Physical and Natural Sciences awarded by the Italian Accademia Nazionale delle Scienze detta dei XL
  • Ferrari-Soave Prize 2005 (Animal Biology) awarded by the Accademia delle Scienze, Turin, Italy
  • Sherborn Award 2008 for outstanding service to biodiversity informatics


  1. ^ "A. MInelli CV". Archived from the original on 2012-12-27. Retrieved 2013-03-30.
  2. ^ a b <Minelli, A. (2003), The Development of Animal Form, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  3. ^ <Minelli, A. (2009), Perspectives in Animal Phylogeny and Evolution, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  4. ^ <Minelli, A. (2010), “Evolutionary developmental biology does not offer a significant challenge to the neoDarwinian paradigm,” pp. 213–226 in Ayala F.J. & Arp R. (eds.) Contemporary debates in Philosophy of Biology, Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
  5. ^ <Minelli, A. (2011), Minelli, A. “Development, an open-ended segment of life.” Biological Theory 6 (1): 4–15.
  6. ^ <Minelli, A. (2011), “A principle of developmental inertia,” pp. 116–133 in B. Hallgrímsson and B.K. Hall (eds.) Epigenetics: Linking genotype and phenotype in development and evolution, Berkeley-Los Angeles- London, University of California Press.
  7. ^ <Minelli A. (1998), “Molecules, developmental modules and phenotypes: A combinatorial approach to homology.” Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 9 (3): 340–347.
  8. ^ <Minelli A. (2000), “Limbs and tail as evolutionarily diverging duplicates of the main body axis.” Evolution & Development 2 (3): 157–165.
  9. ^ <Minelli A. (2000), “Holomeric vs. meromeric segmentation: A tale of centipedes, leeches, and rhombomeres.” Evolution & Development 2 (1): 35–48.
  10. ^ <Minelli A. (2001), “A three-phase model of arthropod segmentation.” Development, Genes and Evolution 211 (10): 509-521.
  11. ^ <Minelli A. & Fusco Giuseppe (2004), “Evo-devo perspectives on segmentation: model organisms, and beyond.” Trends in Ecology and Evolution 19 (8): 423–429.
  12. ^ <Hughes Nigel C., Minelli A. & Fusco G. (2006), “The ontogeny of trilobite segmentation: a comparative approach.” Paleobiology 32 (4): 603–628.
  13. ^ <Minelli A. (2007), “Invertebrate taxonomy and evolutionary developmental biology.” Zootaxa 1668: 55–60 (2007)
  14. ^ <Minelli, A. (2009), “Phylo-evo-devo: combining phylogenetics with evolutionary developmental biology.” BMC Biology 7:36; doi 10.1186/1741-7007-7-36
  15. ^ <Minelli A. & Fusco G. (2012), “On the evolutionary developmental biology of speciation.” Evolutionary Biology 39 (2): 242–254; doi 10.1007/s11692-012-9175-6.
  16. ^ < Minelli A., Brena Carlo, Deflorian Gianluca, Maruzzo Diego & Fusco G. (2006), “From embryo to adult. beyond the conventional periodization of arthropod development.” Development Genes and Evolution 216 (7-8): 373–383
  17. ^ <Minelli A. & Fusco G. (2010), “Developmental plasticity and the evolution of animal complex life cycles.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 365 (140): 631–640, doi:10.1098/rstb.2009.0268.
  18. ^ "A. Minelli CV". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-09-29.

External links[edit]