Professor Eric F. Wieschaus presents "On Growth & Form of the Embryo: From Gene Expression to Tissue Mechanics"
During development, cells in an embryo face two major tasks. First they must express distinct combinations of genes appropriate for specific cell fates such as muscle and skin. Once such patterns of gene expression are established, cells must change their shape and position to match those cell fates. These transformations are remarkable for their speed and precision, but also for their incredible beauty. The associated cell-shape changes depend on local patterns of gene activity, but how such patterns are converted into the physical properties controlling shape and motility is a major unanswered question in biology. In my talk I will describe my lab’s attempts to address these questions using the Drosophila embryo as a model system. Our findings open up a new perspective on the relationship between cells and organismal morphology.