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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2004 Aug;14(4):367-74.

Interplay of mechanical deformation and patterned gene expression in developing embryos.

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Mechanics and Genetics of Embryonic Development Group, UMR 168 Physico-Chimie Curie-Université Paris7, Institut Curie, 11 rue Pierre et Marie Curie, 75005 Paris, France.


The shaping of the early embryo requires pattern formation as well as geometric and topological morphogenesis of the developing tissues. The morphogenetic movements that lead to geometric shape changes are controlled by patterned gene expression. How particular movements are related to patterning genes, and which underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms lead to coordinated macroscopic movements that induce morphogenesis, remain the challenging questions of embryonic development. How morphogenetic movements could modulate the expression of developmental genes is an emerging question, potentially opening new horizons in developmental biology. This question instigates the task of characterizing the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying these mechano-transcription events.

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