The impact of the organism on its descendants.
Historically, evolutionary biologists have taken the view that an understanding of development is irrelevant to theories of evolution. However, the integration of several disciplines in recent years suggests that this position is wrong. The capacity of the organism to adapt to challenges from the environment can set up conditions that affect the subsequent evolution of its descendants. Moreover, molecular events arising from epigenetic processes can be transmitted from one generation to the next and influence genetic mutation. This in turn can facilitate evolution in the conditions in which epigenetic change was first initiated.