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Motility induced elongation of the vertebrate embryo

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GFSW01 - Form and deformation in solid and fluid mechanics

While the genotype provides an instruction set for morphogenesis, how those instructions are converted to shape involves physical patterning as cells change their relative number, size, shape and position in space and time, in conjunction with chemical gradients that they are driven by and in turn drive. We study one of the simplest geometrical motifs in morphogenesis, the elongation of the vertebrate embryo, and show how spatially modulated expression of a specific signaling molecule Fgf8 leads to variations in motility and density. Our experiments and theory show how just a few cellular parameters that control activity and mechanics allow us to quantify the characteristic scale over which elongation occurs and also determines a typical velocity of the elongation of the body.

This work was done in collaboration with Karine Guevorkian, Olivier Pourqui'e and L. Mahadevan.

This talk is part of the Isaac Newton Institute Seminar Series series.

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