Magic embryology: little understood (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Monday, December 09, 2019, 15:38 (1395 days ago) @ David Turell

Specific software must underlie embryological formation of a form from the fertilized egg. New species must have new software to run the show:

Physicists, geneticists, computer scientists, and biologists are working together to gain a full appreciation of the intricacies of organismal growth and form.


"Over the past 20 years, researchers have made tremendous progress in identifying specific genes necessary for development, mostly by chronicling mutations or deletions of genes that lead to the onset of diseases and anatomical defects. But this information is just the tip of the iceberg. While the genome specifies the crucial “parts list” for individual cells, researchers have much to learn about the signaling events that coordinate the collaborative cellular processes to create and repair complex anatomies.

"In the post-genomic era, it is becoming clear that the next step beyond identifying the genetically specified hardware of the body involves understanding the physiological software: the mechanisms that enable cells and tissues to make decisions and implement swarm dynamics that remodel organ-level structure. Often, the same anatomical outcome can arise from a range of diverse starting conditions. For example, normal frog faces can arise even when tadpole faces have their craniofacial tissues in scrambled positions. To understand this anatomical convergence toward the correct target morphology, researchers must incorporate the deep insights of physics and computer science into cell and developmental biology and remember that evolution exploits physical forces such as biomechanics and bioelectrics. (my bold)


"...we work to identify new scientific hypotheses (for example, the idea that anatomical goals are represented by biophysical “memories” in tissues) and experimental tools that will reveal entirely new areas of life science. The dynamic control of biological shape is a problem that requires cross-disciplinary collaboration and the synthesis of data from an array of model systems.


"Our core mission is to uncover and exploit the computational layer between the genome and resulting anatomy." (my bold)

Comment: These quotes are from an article that explains how a new lab is working on morphogenesis. The key points show that the missing ingredient is how the software makes new forms, and this can be applied to embryology and to the creation of new species. It requires the development of new software. It is not really magic. It must be new software, that is new information as the term 'computational layer' implies in computer terms. Those changed instructions must be put into stem cells, but also be centrally located to coordinate the whole new construction. New software must be created by precise planning and code-writing. Only a mind can create the new software.

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