The physics of development 100 years after D'Arcy Thompson's "On Growth and Form"


By applying methods and principles from the physical sciences to biological problems, D'Arcy Thompson's On Growth and Form demonstrated how mathematical reasoning reveals elegant, simple explanations for seemingly complex processes. This has had a profound influence on subsequent generations of developmental biologists. We discuss how this influence can be traced through twentieth century morphologists, embryologists and theoreticians to current research that explores the molecular and cellular mechanisms of tissue growth and patterning, including our own studies of the vertebrate neural tube.