Int. J. Dev. Biol. 50: 267 - 275 (2006)
doi: 10.1387/ijdb.052061yk
© UPV/EHU Press

Morphomechanical programming of morphogenesis in Cnidarian embryos

Yulia A. Kraus*

Dept. of Evolutionary Biology, Biological Faculty, Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia

ABSTRACT The factors governing the pattern formation process in the early morphogenesis of a marine colonial hydroid, Dynamena pumila, have been studied. Two different types of morphogenesis have been distinguished. Morphogenesis of the first type goes on via changes in cell shape and cell axis orientation, while morphogenesis of the second type is based upon the active coordinated cell movements associated with cell rearrangements. It was shown that morphogenesis of both types can be considered as cascades in which any event is a consequence of the previous one. The spatial structure of each developmental stage contains information about the direction and the initial conditions of further morphogenesis. So, an "epigenetic program" of morphogenesis gradually originates in the course of development and provides the stable reproduction of spatial structures. It is reasonable to consider the activity of epigenetic factors guiding Dynamena morphogenesis (geometry/topology of an embryo, heterogeneity of an embryo spatial structure, configuration of the field of mechanical stresses of the embryo surface) as "morphomechanical programming" of morphogenesis.

Keywords:

embryonic development, Hydrozoa, morphogenesis, epigenetic factor, developmental pathway

*Corresponding author e-mail: yulia_kraus@hydrozoa.org