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At the University of Geneva: “Cellular tornadoes sculpt our organs”

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We learn, “A team from the UNIGE has demonstrated that cells self-organise to generate forces that model the shapes of our tissues:”

Examples of protrusions formed by confinement of muscle cells on adhesive discs. The disc, slightly larger than the diameter of the protrusion, is visible at the base. On some protrusions, the vortex organization is visible. The twisted shape of other protrusions is also indicative of rotational forces. (c) UNIGE

How are the different shapes of our organs and tissues generated? To answer this question, a team from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, forced muscle cells to spontaneously reproduce simple shapes in vitro. By confining them on adhesion discs, the biochemists and physicists observed that the cells rapidly self-organise by aligning themselves in the same direction. A circular motion is created around a vortex – called a topological defect – which, by orienting the cells, allows them to join forces, deforming the cell monolayer into a protrusion, a structure commonly observed in embryo development. This cylindrical protrusion is maintained by the collective rotational forces of the cells, creating a tornado-like effect. The formation of these cellular tornadoes would therefore constitute a simple mechanism of spontaneous morphogenesis, dictated by the unique properties of multicellular assemblies. These results can be read in the journal Nature Materials.

University of Geneva (UNIGE), “Cellular tornadoes sculpt our organs” at [publication] (February 10, 2022)

So when was the last time we heard about a tornado that wrought anything but destruction? They can call it “self-organisation” if they want but then self-organization is just another term for “design in nature.”

The paper requires a fee or subscription.

You may also wish to read: The remarkable process of cell division. A classic in design in nature.

Those protrusions look remarkably similar to a specific 'organ'. Tornado is a euphemism. Aside from that, the experiment isn't replicating what happens in a real cell. The researchers set up a force pattern similar to the shear that creates vortices in air, and saw that the organic material also formed a vortex. This doesn't prove self-organization, it only shows that organic material can also form a vortex in a shear. polistra

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