Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley Previously Published Works bannerUC Berkeley

Indeterminate Growth: Could It Represent the Ancestral Condition?


Although we are used to the idea that many organisms stop growing when they reach a predictable size, in many taxa, growth occurs throughout the life of an organism, a phenomenon referred to as indeterminate growth. Our comparative analysis suggests that indeterminate growth may indeed represent the ancestral condition, whereas the permanent arrest of growth may be a more derived state. Consistent with this idea, in diverse taxa, the basal branches show indeterminate growth, whereas more derived branches arrest their growth. Importantly, in some closely related taxa, the termination of growth has evolved in mechanistically distinct ways. Also, even within a single organism, different organs can differ with respect to whether they terminate their growth or not. Finally, the study of tooth development indicates that, even at the level of a single tissue, multiple determinate patterns of growth can evolve from an ancestral one that is indeterminate.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View