The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 50: 223 - 232 (2006)

Vol 50, Issue 2-3

Special Issue: Developmental Morphodynamics

Morphogenesis, plasticity and irreversibility

Open Access | Published: 15 February 2006

Chikara Furusawa1,3,* and Kunihiko Kaneko2,3

1Department of Bioinformatics Engineering, Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, Osaka University, Osaka, 2Department of Pure and Applied Sciences, Univ. of Tokyo Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo and 3ERATO Complex Systems Biology Project, JST, Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, Japan


The dynamical systems theory of morphogenesis is surveyed, in which positional information is generated through intracellular reaction dynamics and cell­cell interaction. Cells differentiate because of these dynamics. In addition, these differentiated cells form an ordered spatial pattern, which further stabilizes the cellular states, leading to robust morphogenesis and irreversibility in the differentiation. Induction, community effect, gastrulation and activin-controlled artificial tissue-genesis are discussed from the perspective of this theory and the relevance of dynamics of cellular plasticity is stressed.


morphogenesis, plasticity, irreversibility, evolution

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