New research could reveal the mechanics of morphogenesis
Morphogenesis is one of the most remarkable examples of biological self-organisation. The principles governing morphogenesis, which involve an intricate interplay between biophysical processes and biochemical reactions, are still poorly understood. The EU-funded HydraMechanics project is focussing on the mechanical aspects of morphogenesis. Using hydra, a small multicellular fresh-water animal, as a model system, the project aims to uncover how mechanical forces and feedback contribute to the formation and stabilisation of the animal’s body plan. Hydra has a simple body plan with uniaxial symmetry and has remarkable regenerative properties. Overall, the project's work could reveal how mechanics affects animal morphogenesis and inspire new approaches on how to use external forces to direct tissue engineering. Results could also have far-reaching implications for regenerative medicine.
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