A mechanochemical model recapitulates distinct vertebrate gastrulation modes

Mattia Serra (Lead / Corresponding author), Guillermo Serrano Nájera, Manli Chuai, Vamsi Spandan, Cornelis J. Weijer, L. Mahadevan (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Working paper/PreprintPreprint


Gastrulation is a critical event in vertebrate morphogenesis driven by cellular processes, and characterized by coordinated multi-cellular movements that form the robust morphological structures. How these structures emerge in a developing organism and vary across vertebrates remains unclear. Inspired by experiments on the chick, we derive a theoretical framework that couples actomyosin activity to tissue flow, and provides a basis for the dynamics of gastrulation morphologies. Our model predicts the onset and development of observed experimental patterns of wild-type and perturbations of chick gastrulation as a spontaneous instability of a uniform state. Varying the initial conditions and a parameter in our model, allows us to recapitulate the phase space of gastrulation morphologies seen across vertebrates, consistent with experimental observations in the accompanying paper. All together, this suggests that early embryonic self-organization follows from a minimal predictive theory of active mechano-sensitive flows.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2021


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