Mechanisms of Morphogenesis

2nd Edition

Authors: Jamie Davies
Hardcover ISBN: 9780123910622
eBook ISBN: 9780124157576
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 17th April 2013
Page Count: 414
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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



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 Anot


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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

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Edinburgh, U.K.


"Davies retains from the first edition the concentration on morphogenesis itself…with other aspects of development taken for granted, and the organization that progresses in size from the sub-cellular systems critical for larger scale morphogenesis to mechanisms that concern whole population of cells… to keep the textbook manageable, he has presented some material more succinctly, such as the morphogenesis of sub-cellular structures.", January 2014