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Multicellular organisms develop complex shapes from much simpler, single-celled zygotes through a process commonly called morphogenesis. Morphogenesis involves an interplay between several factors, ranging from the gene regulatory networks determining cell fate and differentiation to the mechanical processes underlying cell and tissue shape changes. Thus, the study of morphogenesis has historically been based on multidisciplinary approaches at the interface of biology with physics and mathematics. Recent technological advances have further improved our ability to study morphogenesis by bridging the gap between the genetic and biophysical factors through the development of new tools for visualizing, analyzing, and perturbing these factors and their biochemical intermediaries. Here, we review how a combination of genetic, microscopic, biophysical, and biochemical approaches has aided our attempts to understand morphogenesis and discuss potential approaches that may be beneficial to such an inquiry in the future.


Nikhil Mishra, Carl-Philipp Heisenberg. Dissecting Organismal Morphogenesis by Bridging Genetics and Biophysics. Annual review of genetics. 2021 Nov 23;55:209-233

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PMID: 34460295

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