Generic Dynamics of Morphogenesis
Acetabularia is a single-celled alga that undergoes a characteristic pattern of morphogenesis to produce a giant cell of distinctive form. Because of its basic simplicity, this organism lends itself to experimental and theoretical studies of the components that make up the morphogenetic field, and their dynamic properties. A model of this field and a finite-element simulation of its behaviour are presented which show that spatial patterns generically similar to those observed in the alga arise naturally, suggesting that normal morphogenesis can be described as an attractor of a moving boundary process. The implications of this possibility in relation to morphogenesis in related species is considered.
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