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Growth and form of the gut

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The looping pattern in which intestines are folded within the body cavity is conserved between individuals and is characteristic of species. We use developmental and biophysical experiments (mathematical theory and both computational and physical models) to determine what drives the looping, focusing on the chick gut. We show that this reproducible structure is governed by simple mechanics, related to the way the organ grows during embryogenesis. Throughout development, the gut tube is anchored to a muscular sheet called the mesentery which grows slower than the tube. The gut looping is then determined solely by the tissue-scale elasticity, geometry and relative rates of growth of the mesentery and the tube. This model accounts for variation in gut patterns, during development and in a range of species including quail, finch and mouse.

This talk is part of the BSS Formal Seminars series.

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