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Keywords:

  • development;
  • quantitative;
  • actin-myosin;
  • mechanics;
  • modeling

Abstract

Although developmental biology has been dominated by the genetic analysis of embryonic development, in recent years genetic tools have been combined with new approaches such as imaging of live processes, automated and quantitative image analysis, mechanical perturbation and mathematical modeling, to study the principles underlying the formation of organisms. Here we focus on recent work carried out on Dorsal Closure, a morphogenetic process during Drosophila embryogenesis, to illustrate how this multidisciplinary approach is yielding new and unexpected insights into how cells organize themselves through the activity of their molecular components to give rise to the stereotyped and macroscopic movements observed during development. genesis 49:522–533, 2011. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.