Mechanisms of Morphogenesis - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780080454436

Mechanisms of Morphogenesis

1st Edition

Authors: Jamie Davies
eBook ISBN: 9780080454436
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 24th October 2005
Page Count: 384
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Morphogenesis is the set of processes that generate shape and form in the embryo- an important area within developmental biology. An exciting and up to the minute account of the very latest research into the factors that create biological form, Mechanisms of Morphogenesis is a text reference on the mechanisms of cell and tissue morphogenesis in a diverse array of organisms including prokaryotes, animals, plants and fungi.

By combining hard data with computer modelling, this book will equip readers with a much broader understanding of the scope of modern research than is otherwise available. The book focuses on the ways in which the genetic programme is translated to generate cell shape, to direct cell migration, and to produce the shape, form and rates of growth of the various tissues. Each topic is illustrated with experimental data from real systems, with particular reference to gaps in current knowledge and pointers to future research.

Key Features

  • Includes over 200 four-color figures
  • Offers an integrated view of theoretical developmental biology and computer modelling with laboratory-based discoveries
  • Covers experimental techniques as a guide to the reader
  • Organized around principles and mechanisms, using them to integrate discoveries from a range of organisms and systems


Cell and developmental biologists, graduates, would attend conferences by the British Society for Developmental Biology and the American Society for Developmental Biology, the Developmental Pathology Society etc.

Table of Contents

1) Introductory Section 1.1 General introduction 1.2 Key principles of morphogenesis 1.3 The power and limitations of self-assembly

2) Cell shape and the cell morphogenesis 2.1 Morphogenesis by changing cell shape: a brief overview 2.2 Shape in animal cells: tensegrity 2.3 Making cellular processes 2.4 Shape in plant cells

3) Cell Migration 3.1 Cell migration in development: a brief overview 3.2 The nanomachinery of locomotion 3.3 Guidance by chemotaxis 3.4 Guidance by galvanotaxis 3.5 Guidance by contact 3.6 Waypoint navigation in the embryo 3.7 Condensation of cells

4) Epithelial Morphogenesis 4.1 The epithelial state – brief overview 4.2 Neighbour exchange and convergent extension 4.3 Closure of holes 4.4 Invagination and evagination 4.5 Epithelial fusion 4.6 Epithelial Branching

5) Morphogenesis by cell proliferation and death
5.1 Growth, proliferation and death – a brief introduction 5.2 Morphogenesis by orientated cell division 5.3 Morphogenesis by elective cell death

6) Conclusion and perspectives


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2005
Academic Press
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About the Author

Jamie Davies

Since 1995 Davies has run his own laboratory at the University of Edinburgh, with a multidisciplinary focus on discovering how mammalian organs construct themselves and how we can use apply knowledge to build new tissues and organs for those in need. Some of the work of his 20-strong research team is 'conventional' developmental biology; identifying signals and mechanisms used in natural organ development. Some is bioinformatic analysis (we host the editorial office of an international database for renal development – – funded by the USA National Institutes of Health, and the database, an international effort for the International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology). Some of his work is in tissue engineering – his lab has recently developed a method to produce engineered 'fetal kidneys' from simple suspensions of stem cells, an activity that attracted considerable press attention last year. Finally, his lab is pioneering the application of synthetic biology techniques to tissue engineering, to 'program' cells to make structures that are designed rather than evolved.

Davies has published around 140 research papers in the field of mammalian development, has published one major specialist monograph (Mechanisms of Morphogenesis, Elsevier, 2005 2nd Ed 2014), one public engagement book (Life Unfoloding, OUP, 2013 (Hardback), 2015 (paperback), now in translation also) and has edited three multi-author books in the fields of development, stem cells and tissue engineering. His contributions to research and teaching in this area have been recognized by having been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Davies served as Deputy Chair of the National Centre for 3Rs, a government agency that promotes research that refines, reduces or replaces animal experiments. He has also served as Editor-in-Chief of the research journal Organogenesis for 8 years, and is currently an Editor of Journal of Anatomy and PLOS One.

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Edinburgh


"...written in acessible prose. Each chapter outlines experiments that explore a basic central concept. The book is richly illustrated with drawings and well supported by an impressive, up-to-date literature base. Young scientists could profit immensely from this book, as it points out to potential avenues of further fruitful research. For the established researcher, the book will provide an excellent update on current advances, and several simple exercises provided in footnotes will be useful in the classroom. Davies wisely makes no attempt to provide comprehensive coverage, but uses persuasive logic to draw out the robust argument that although form is ultimately dependent on cells constructing tissues, complexity in biological sytems can and does arise by simple mechanisms at the cellular level. The result is a unique perspective on a set of problems of fundamental importance to molecular, cell and developmental biologists." -Chris B. Cameron, University of Montreal, in BIOSCIENCE "This beautiful book presents an overview of new concepts in this exciting excellent guide for a seminar course...carefully edited and a joy to read. The color illustrations are beautifully prepared and informative...Each chapter includes an extensive bibliography enabling the reader to gain immediate access to the literature. The author provides an excellent blend of theory and experimental biology. The problems faced by the embryo are identified and experimental findings are interpreted. The grand unifying theme is 'adaptive self-organization'. This is the kind of interpretation and integration of science that is so valuable. It is refreshing to read a book that provides more than just a simple list of isolated facts...I highly recommend it for biologists, as well as students of biophysics and bioengineering. It provides a great overview of major findings and new paradigms in the study of biological structure and function." -Bruce A Fenderson, Ph.D, Thomas Jefferson University for DOODY'S

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