Growth based morphogenesis of vertebrate limb bud

Yoshihiro Morishita, Yoh Iwasa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Many genes and their regulatory relationships are involved in developmental phenomena. However, by chemical information alone, we cannot fully understand changing organ morphologies through tissue growth because deformation and growth of the organ are essentially mechanical processes. Here, we develop a mathematical model to describe the change of organ morphologies through cell proliferation. Our basic idea is that the proper specification of localized volume source (e.g., cell proliferation) is able to guide organ morphogenesis, and that the specification is given by chemical gradients. We call this idea "growth-based morphogenesis." We find that this morphogenetic mechanism works if the tissue is elastic for small deformation and plastic for large deformation. To illustrate our concept, we study the development of vertebrate limb buds, in which a limb bud protrudes from a flat lateral plate and extends distally in a self-organized manner. We show how the proportion of limb bud shape depends on different parameters and also show the conditions needed for normal morphogenesis, which can explain abnormal morphology of some mutants. We believe that the ideas shown in the present paper are useful for the morphogenesis of other organs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1957-1978
Number of pages22
JournalBulletin of Mathematical Biology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Mathematics(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Pharmacology
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Immunology


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