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developmental biology

520px illustration for bioelectric signaling
developmental biology

Brainless Embryos Suggest Bioelectricity Guides Growth

Researchers are building a case that long before the nervous system works, the brain sends crucial bioelectric signals to guide the growth of embryonic tissues.

520px 3D illustration of tissue curling
Abstractions blog

Tissue Engineers Hack Life’s Code for 3-D Folded Shapes

Mechanical tension between tethered cells cues developing tissues to fold. Researchers can now program synthetic tissue to make coils, cubes and rippling plates.

Neurons and astrocytes
Abstractions blog

The Oldest Mini-Brains Have Lifelike Young Cells

“Organoid” brain tissue models grown in a lab for two years can help scientists study a critical period of development just before and after birth.

cerebral organoid, or mini-brain
Abstractions blog

Mini-Brains Go Modular

To create a good living replica of the human brain, your best hope may be to let “organoid” components assemble it for you.

Uca vocans - fiddler crab
developmental biology

How Life Turns Asymmetric

Scientists are uncovering how our bodies — and everything within them — tell right from left.

Q&A

Debating the Evolution of Multicellularity

An interview with the developmental biologist Cassandra Extavour on the origins of multicellular organisms and the evolution of cooperation.

Biology

Biologists Home in on Turing Patterns

New research has prompted a resurgence of interest in the patterning mechanisms Alan Turing proposed 60 years ago.