Latest Publications

Zattara E, Moczek AP 2023. The role of Hox genes in the origins and diversification of beetle horns. In: Hox modules in Evolution and Development, edited by D. Ferrier. CRC Press / Taylor & Francis.

This manuscript explores the roles played by Hox genes in the origin and diversification of head and thoracic horns in beetles, and documents how ancient, deeply conserved regulators of embryonic development may also be able to facilitate innovation and diversification at later postembryonic stages.

Latest Publications

Sultan SE, Moczek AP, Walsh D 2022. Bridging the Explanatory Gaps: What can we learn from a biological agency perspective? BioEssays: 10.1002/bies.202100185.

This manuscript explores BIOLOGICAL AGENCY, the capacity of living systems to participate in their own development, adaptation, and evolution, to help us understand better why and how living systems work, persist, innovate the way they do.

Latest Publications

Hu Y, Moczek AP 2021.Wing serial homologs and the diversification of insect outgrowths: insights from the pupae of scarab beetles. Proceedings of the Royal Society Series B 288:20202828.

In this manuscript we provide evidence that supports that cell populations, tissues, and gene regulatory networks segmentally reiterated along the insect body have facilitated the developmental evolution of diverse dorsal appendages, from true wings to beetle horns and the many projections found on abdominal segments.

Meet the Team

We are a diverse group of scientists interested in understanding the origins of novel, complex traits in development and evolution.


Our outreach initiative aims to create K12 resources in support of Indiana Science Teaching Standards, enhance diversity in STEM fields, and train the next generation of scientists in the development of impactful outreach efforts.

“To develop is to interact with the envionment.
To evolve is to alter these interactions in a heritable manner.”

Organisms and their form and function are the products of developmental processes operating in specific ecological conditions over evolutionary time. The nature of interactions between development (devo) and ecology (eco), and how these are shaped by, and are in turn shaping, evolutionary processes (evo), are the foci of Ecological and Evolutionary Developmental Biology (eco evo devo) and the objectives of our research. In particular, our group is focused on understanding how novel complex traits originate and diversify in development and evolution, and how this process is channeled by ecological conditions. But we also study the reverse – once in existence we ask how novel complex traits feed back on ecological and evolutionary processes, such as range expansions or adaptive radiations. Specifically, we structure our exploration around what we consider eight interdependent dimensions of innovation of diversification:


We are a diverse group of scientists interested in understanding the origins of novel, complex traits in development and evolution.


Read more about the various projects underway in the lab, and our work towards understanding innovation in the natural world.


Find how to apply to join the lab, participate in our outreach programs, or contribute towards our research goals.