Mechanisms of Morphogenesis

Mechanisms of Morphogenesis

2nd Edition - February 18, 2013

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  • Author: Jamie Davies
  • eBook ISBN: 9780124157576
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780123910622

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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, second edition 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 modeling, Mechanisms of Morphogenesis, second edition equips 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 program 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

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

  • Dedication


    A Note on References

    SECTION I: Introductory Section

    Chapter 1. Introduction: The Aims and Structure of This Book

    Reference List

    Chapter 2. Key Principles of Morphogenesis

    The Idea of ‘Mechanism’


    Emergence, Trap-Door Processes and the Dangers of Post-Hoc Reasoning

    Feedback, Self-Assembly and Adaptive Self-Organization

    Reference List

    Chapter 3. The Power and Limitations of Self-Assembly

    Introduction to Self-Assembly

    Self-Assembly of Bilayered Membranes

    One-Dimensional Self-Assembly: Actin

    One-Dimensional Self-Assembly: Collagen

    Three-Dimensional Self-Assembly: Simple Viruses

    Quality Control in Self-Assembling Structures

    Limitations to Self-Assembly

    Reference List

    SECTION II: Cell Shape and Cell Morphogenesis

    Chapter 4. Morphogenesis of Individual Cells: A Brief Overview

    Flattening and Elongation of Cells

    Production of Cell Processes

    Cell Fusions

    Cell Cavitation

    Changes in Cell Shape can Directly Drive Morphogenesis of Tissues

    Reference List

    Chapter 5. Animal Cell Shape: The Importance of the Cytoskeleton


    Building and Placement of Tensile Microfilaments

    Adaptive Self-Organization of the Microfilament Tension System

    Assembly of the Microtubule System

    Formation of Special Structures: Actin-Based Cell Protrusions

    Reference List

    Chapter 6. Cellular Morphogenesis in Plants

    Diffuse Cell Elongation in Plants

    Focused Cell Growth: Root Hairs, Pollen Tubes and Trichomes

    Reference List

    SECTION III: Cell Migration

    Chapter 7. Cell Migration in Development: A Brief Overview

    Morphogenesis by Coalescence of Dispersed Cells

    Translocation of Groups of Cells from One Place to Another

    Dispersal of Cells from One Site to the Rest of the Body

    Migration by Cell Processes

    Reference List

    Chapter 8. The Nano-Machinery of Locomotion

    Protrusion: The Actin-Based Nano-Machinery of the Leading Edge

    Filopodia in Cell Crawling

    Control of Formation of Lamellipodia/Filopodia

    Advance of the Cell Body

    Retraction of the Rear of the Cell

    Key Points to Take Forward into the Next Chapters

    Reference List

    Chapter 9. Guidance by Chemotaxis

    The Chemotactic Gradient

    Reading the Chemotactic Gradient

    Linking the Internal Representation of the External Gradient to Motility

    How Good a Model is D. Discoideum for other Species?


    Multiple Sources of Chemorepellant can Define a Pathway in a Way that Multiple Sources of Chemoattractant Cannot

    The Usefulness of Noise to Decision-Making by Migrating Cells

    Integration of Chemotaxis and Contact Guidance

    Reference List

    Chapter 10. Guidance by Galvanotaxis

    Cell Movement in Response to Electric Fields

    Electric Fields in Living Systems

    Reference List

    Chapter 11. Guidance by Contact


    Durotaxis: Guidance of Cells by Gradients of Mechanical Compliance

    Attraction by Contact-Driven Cell Signal Transduction

    Pathways of Attractive Molecules in the EmbrYO

    Guidance of Cells by Aligned Fibres

    Guidance by Inhibition of Locomotion

    Reference List

    Chapter 12. Waypoint Navigation in the Embryo

    Waypoint Navigation by Germ Cells in Drosophila Melanogaster

    Waypoint Navigation by Growth Cones

    Dense Arrays of Waypoints Make Pathways

    The Many Waypoints of the Vertebrate Visual System

    Reference List

    Chapter 13. Cooperative Migration of Mesenchymal Cells

    Why Migrate as a Collective?

    Case Study: Collective Cell Migration by the Neural Crest

    Case Study: The Rostral Migratory Stream

    Concluding Remarks

    Reference List

    Chapter 14. Condensation of Cells

    Condensation Through Enhanced Cell Adhesion

    Condensation by Elimination of Interstitial Matrix

    Reference List

    SECTION IV: Epithelial Morphogenesis

    Chapter 15. The Epithelial State: a Brief Overview

    The Making of an Epithelium

    The Forces that Shape an Epithelium

    Reference List

    Chapter 16. Neighbour Exchange and Convergent Extension

    Reference List

    Chapter 17. Closure of Holes

    Dorsal Closure in Drosophila Melanogaster

    Wound Healing in the Embryo

    Reference List

    Chapter 18. Invagination and Evagination: The Making and Shaping of Folds and Tubes


    Models for Axial Invagination (1): Apical Constriction

    Models for Axial Invagination (2): Matrix Mechanics

    Models for Axial Invagination (3): An Attempted Synthesis

    Orthogonal Invagination: Neural Tube Formation in Vertebrates

    Invagination without Tube Formation

    Evagination of Imaginal Discs

    Reference List

    Chapter 19. Epithelial Fusion

    Tracheal Fusion in Drosophila Melanogaster

    Epithelial Fusion in Palate Development

    Reference List

    Chapter 20. Epithelial Branching

    Branching by Sprouting

    Switching Between Modes of Branching

    How Conserved is Branching by Sprouting?

    Branching by Clefting

    Patterning the Branching Tree

    Intussusceptive Branching

    Automatic Versus Planned Architecture in Branching Systems

    Reference List

    Chapter 21. Boundaries to Epithelial Movement

    Avoiding the Problem of Boundary Control

    Protecting a Border by Controlling Migration

    Theory 1: Boundary Formation by Differential Adhesion (caution!)

    Theory 2: Boundary Formation by Tension

    Reduced Cell Proliferation: an Aid to Boundary Stability?

    Reference List

    SECTION V: Morphogenesis by Cell Proliferation and Death

    Chapter 22. Growth, Proliferation and Death: A Brief Overview

    Cell Proliferation is Controlled at Several Scales

    Control of Cell Proliferation

    A Brief Introduction to the Cell Cycle

    Local Control of Cell Proliferation

    Tissue-Scale Control of Proliferation: A Mechanism for Keeping Different Cell Populations in Balance

    Large-Scale Control of Cell Proliferation

    Interplay Between Global and Organ-Specific Signals

    Plants Show a Direct Connection Between Growth and Morphogenesis

    Reference List

    Chapter 23. Morphogenesis by Orientated Cell Division

    Orientation of the Mitotic Spindle

    Adaptive Self-Organization of Mitotic Orientation and Hertwig’s Rule

    Orientated Cell Division in Plants

    Reference List

    Chapter 24. Morphogenesis by Elective Cell Death

    Competition, Death and the Trophic Theory

    Anoikis and Error Correction

    Elective Cell Death in Plants

    Death for Life

    Reference List

    SECTION VI: Modelling Morphogenesis

    Chapter 25. Modelling Morphogenesis: A Brief Overview

    The Purposes of Modelling

    Broad Strategies for Modelling: Mathematical Versus Synthetic Biological

    Reference List

    Chapter 26. Mechanical and Mathematical Models of Morphogenesis

    Physical Models

    Computer Models of Epithelial Morphogenesis

    Concluding Remarks

    Reference List

    Chapter 27. Modelling Using Living Cells: Tissue Engineering and Synthetic Morphology

    Tissue Engineering as a Technique for Modelling Morphogenesis

    Synthetic Morphology

    Reference List

    SECTION VII: Conclusion and Perspectives

    Chapter 28. Conclusions and Perspectives

    Provisional Conclusions from the Mechanisms Described in Foregoing Chapters

    Are Multilayered Morphogenetic Systems Hierarchical?

    Looking Forwards: What Remains to be Done?

    Reference List


Product details

  • No. of pages: 414
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2013
  • Published: February 18, 2013
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9780124157576
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780123910622

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

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