Monday, November 7, 2011

physicist on embryogenesis

  "Among the many scientific puzzles posed by living organisms, perhaps the toughest concerns the origin of form. Put simply, the problem is this. How is a disorganized collection of molecules assembled into a coherent whole that constitutes a living organism, with all the right bits in the right places? The creation of biological forms is known as morphogenesis, and despite decades of study it is a subject still shrouded in mystery."
   "The enigma is at its most striking in the seemingly miraculous development of the embryo from a single fertilized cell into a more or less independent living entity of fantastic complexity, in which many cells have become specialized to form parts of nerves, liver, bone, etc. It is a process that is somehow supervised to an astonishing level of detail and accuracy in both space and time."
    "In studying the development of the embryo it is hard to resist the impression that there exists somewhere a blueprint, or plan of assembly, carrying the instructions needed to achieve the finished form. In some as yet poorly understood way the growth of the organism is tightly constrained to conform to this plan. There is thus a strong element of teleogy involved. It seems as if the growing organism is being directed towards its final state by some sort of global supervising agency. This sense of destiny has led biologists to use the term 'fate map' to describe the seemingly planned unfolding of the developing embryo." (pp.102, 103)
Paul Davies, physicist, The Cosmic Blueprint 1987 

                         Click on video. Double click on images.
The Wonder Of Cell Division by Karl Marxhausen, mixed media on board, 40 by 40 inches, All Souls Gallery, 4501 Walnut, Kansas City, MO. Nov 6 to Dec 2, 2011

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