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Morphogenetic field

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Title: Morphogenetic field  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Alexander Gurwitsch, Walter John Kilner, Genotype-phenotype distinction, Sequence space (evolution), Neutral network (evolution)
Collection: Developmental Biology
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Morphogenetic field

This article is about the concept in developmental biology. For Rupert Sheldrake's concept of the same name, see the bibliography in his article.
A.G.Gurwitsch analysed the embryonic development of the sea-urchin as a vector-field, as if the proliferation of cells into organs were brought about by putative external forces.


  • See a morphogenetic field model and simulation at: Lahoz-Beltra, R., Selem Mojica, N., Perales-Gravan, C., Navarro, J., Marijuan, P.C., 2008. Towards a Morphogenetic Field Theory. [1]

External links

  • Davidson EH (1 July 1993). "Later embryogenesis: regulatory circuitry in morphogenetic fields". Development 118 (3): 665–90.  
  • Gilbert SF (2006). DevBio: a companion to Developmental Biology, 8th ed."in:"The "Re-discovery" of Morphogenic Fields. . Sinauer Associates. Retrieved 2007-07-20. 

Further reading

  1. ^ Alberts B, Johnson A, Lewis J, Raff M, Roberts K, Walter P (2002). Molecular Biology of the Cell in: Universal Mechanisms of Animal Development. (4th ed.). Garland.  
  2. ^ Jacobson AG, Sater AK (1 November 1988). "Features of embryonic induction". Development 104 (3): 341–59.  
  3. ^ a b c d e Gilbert SF, Opitz JM, Raff RA (1996). "Resynthesizing evolutionary and developmental biology". Dev. Biol. 173 (2): 357–72.  
  4. ^ a b Gilbert SF (2003). Developmental biology (7th ed.). Sunderland, Mass: Sinauer Associates. pp. 65–6.  
  5. ^ Alberts B, et al. (2002). Molecular Biology of the Cell in: Organogenesis and the Patterning of Appendages. (4th ed.). Garland.  
  6. ^ Beloussov, LV (1997). "Life of Alexander G. Gurwitsch and his relevant contribution to the theory of morphogenetic fields". International Journal of Developmental Biology 41 (6): 771–779. , with comment by SF Gilbert and JM Optiz.
  7. ^ de Robertis, EM; Morita, EA; Cho, KWY (1991). "Gradient fields and homeobox genes". Development 112 (3): 669–678.  
  8. ^ Bolker, JA (2000). "Modularity in Development and Why It Matters to Evo-Devo". American Zoologist 40 (5): 770–776.  


See also

Scott Gilbert proposes that the morphogenetic field is a middle ground between genes and evolution.[3] That is, genes act upon fields, which then act upon the developing organism.[3] Jessica Bolker describes morphogenetic fields not merely as incipient structures or organs, but as dynamic entities with their own localized development processes, which are central to the emerging field of evolutionary development ("evo-devo").[8]

By the 1930s, however, the work of geneticists, especially ontogeny.[3] With the discovery and mapping of master control genes, such as the homeobox genes the pre-eminence of genes seemed assured. But in the late twentieth century the field concept was "rediscovered" as a useful part of developmental biology. It was found, for example, that different mutations could cause the same malformations, suggesting that the mutations were affecting a complex of structures as a unit, a unit that might correspond to the field of early 20th century embryology.

Harrison was able to identify "fields" of cells producing organs such as limbs, tail and gills and to show that these fields could be fragmented or have undifferentiated cells added and a complete normal final structure would still result. It was thus considered that it was the "field" of cells, rather than individual cells, that were patterned for subsequent development of particular organs. The field concept was developed further by Harrison's friend Hans Spemann, and then by Paul Weiss and others.[3]

The concept of the morphogenetic field, fundamental in the early twentieth century to the study of embryological development, was first introduced in 1910 by Alexander G. Gurwitsch.[6] Experimental support was provided by Ross Granville Harrison's experiments transplanting fragments of a newt embryo into different locations.[7]

Historical development


  • Historical development 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • Further reading 4
  • External links 5

[5] are examples of morphogenetic fields.larvae in insect Imaginal discs [4] Importantly, however, the specific cellular programming of individual cells in a field is flexible: an individual cell in a cardiac field can be redirected via cell-to-cell signaling to replace specific damaged or missing cells.[4] will become heart tissue.cardiac field will become a limb tissue, those in a limb field As a group, the cells within a given morphogenetic field are constrained — i.e. cells in a [3]

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