Models of Mechanics and Growth in Developmental Biology: A Computational Morphodinamics approach


Summary, in English

Recent evidence has revealed the role of mechanical cues in the development of shapes in organisms. This thesis is an effort to test some of the fundamental hypotheses about the relation between mechanics and patterning in plants. To do this, we develop mechanical models designed to include specific features of plant cell walls. These are heterogeneous stiffness and material anisotropy as well as rates and directions of growth, which we then relate to different domains of the plant tissue.
In plant cell walls, anisotropic fiber deposition is the main controller of longitudinal growth. In our model, this is achieved spontaneously, by applying feedback from the maximal stress direction to the fiber orientation. We show that a stress feedback model is in fact an energy minimization process. This can be considered as an evolutionary motivation for the emergence of a stress feedback mechanism. Then we add continuous growth and cell division to the model and employ the strain signal directing large growth deformations. We show the advantages of strain-based growth model for emergence of plant-like organ shapes as well as for reproducing microtubular dynamics in hypocotyls and roots. We also investigate possibilities for describing microtubular patterns, at root hair outgrowth sites according to stress patterns. Altogether, the work described in this thesis, provides a new improved growth model for plant tissue, where mechanical properties are handled with appropriate care in the event of growth driven by either molecular or mechanical signals. The model unifies the patterning process for several different plant tissues, from shoot to single root hair cells, where it correctly predict microtubular dynamics and growth patterns. In a long-term perspective, this understanding can propagate to novel technologies for improvement of yield in agriculture and the forest industry.


  • Natural Sciences


  • plants
  • morphodynamics
  • mechanics
  • anisotropy
  • growth
  • microtubules
  • microfibrils





  • ISBN: 978-91-7623-845-5
  • ISBN: 978-91-7623-844-8


3 juni 2016




Department of Physics, Lecture hall A, L317, Sölvegatan 14A, Lund