Forma, Vol. 8 (No. 2), pp. 159-178, 1993

Mechanochemical Models and Biological Morphogenesis
—A Brief Review

J. Cook, P. Tracqui and J. D. Murray

Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, U.S.A.

(Received June 16, 1993; Accepted July 1, 1993)

Keywords: Morphogenesis, Pattern Formation, Mathematical Model, Skin Primordia, Limb Development, Developmental Constraints, Wound Healing

Abstract. We review the mechanochemical theory of biological morphogenesis that has been developed by Murray and coworkers over the past decade. General theory is discussed while pattern formation potential is demonstrated in the context of a simplified model. We consider models for the patterning of feathers on chick skin, the development of cartilage patterns in the vertebrate limb and dermal wound healing.
"It is clear that the egg contains no description of the adult, but a programme for making it, ... Relatively simple cellular forces can give rise to complex changes in form; ..." Wolpert (1977).
"Although we often have very good descriptions of how a particular organ forms and of the nature of the participating cells and molecular constituents, it is in relatively few cases that we have insight into the details of the mechanism that lead those cells to cooperate in forming tissue architecture". Bard (1990).