Development and Morphogenesis

  • Johannes F. KnabeEmail author
Part of the Studies in Computational Intelligence book series (SCI, volume 428)


In morphogenesis1 dividing cells assemble into differentiated shapes, using decentralised control and self-organisation. The development of multicellular organisms from a single fertilised egg cell has fascinated humans at least since Aristotle’s speculations more than 2000 years ago [Wolpert et al(2007)Wolpert, Jessell, Lawrence, Meyerowitz, Robertson, and Smith]. In the more recent past our understanding of how interacting genes direct developmental processes has greatly increased [West-Eberhard(2003),Gerhart and Kirschner(1997),Wolpert et al(2007)Wolpert, Jessell, Lawrence, Meyerowitz, Robertson, and Smith, Arthur(2000)], see earlier sections on evo-devo, 2.2, and its molecular basis, section 3.1.1. Cell differentiation, the inducing effects of intercellular signalling via “morphogens”, changes in cell form like contraction, the self-organising properties of adhesion and cell sorting in animal morphogenesis [Glazier and Graner(1993)] are among the important principles better understood now. [Nehaniv(2005)] discusses GRNs as a potential computational paradigm with high evolvability. And although every cell is controlled by a Genetic Regulatory Network (GRN), the resulting multicellular dynamics are also strongly influenced by physical constraints.


Multicellular Organism Reaction Diffusion System Energy Constraint Target Pattern Genetic Regulatory Network 
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Copyright information

© Springer Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Science and Technology Research InstituteUniversity of HertfordshireHatfieldUnited Kingdom

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