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Claire de Thoisy-Méchin

Press Relations

Tel. +33 (0)1 44 27 23 34

Email: claire.de_thoisy-mechin@upmc.fr


In English:

Katherine Tyrka

International Press Relations

tel. +33 (0)1 44 27 51 05

Email: katherine.tyrka@upmc.fr

How Are Vertebrates Formed?

A simple physical mechanism, similar to oragami folding, enables the change of an unformed mass of cells to an embryo organized according to the overall plan of vertebrates. This is the main conclusion from a research, which included physicists from the Complex Systems and Matter Laboratory (CNRS/Paris Diderot University) and a biologist from the Developmental Biology Laboratory (CNRS/UPMC).


A model of the mechanism that creates the folds. Stiff paper label is pasted onto a sheet of rubber. The sheet folds along the border between the stiffer area and the softer zone when stretched. This replicates the formation of folds along the borders between cellular domains. © VF-CNRS-MSC/EDP Sciences-SIF-Springer SBM


Through microscopic observations and micromechanical experiments, they found that the pattern guide these folds are present in the early stages of development. The pleats that give the form of an animal occur along the discontinuities between areas of cells with different properties. This work serves to better understand the mechanism that creates vertebrates, and thus how they appeared during evolution. They were published on the European Physical Journal E website, the 12 February, 2015.

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