Embryonic Tissue Morphogenesis Modeled by FEM

[+] Author and Article Information
G. W. Brodland

Departments of Civil Engineering and Biology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1

D. A. Clausi

Department of Systems Design Engineering, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1

J Biomech Eng 116(2), 146-155 (May 01, 1994) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2895713 History: Received July 14, 1992; Revised July 06, 1993; Online March 17, 2008


A three-dimensional, large-strain finite element formulation for the simulation of morphogenetic behaviors in embryonic tissues is presented. It is used to investigate aspects of invagination, neural tube morphogenesis, contraction wave propagation and mechanical pattern formation. The simulations show that the spacing of patterns and the shapes produced by certain morphogenetic movements in epithelial sheets depend only slightly on the properties of the materials which underlie these sheets. Simulations of neural tube closure show that numerous, experimentally-observed features can be produced by contraction of apical microfilament bundles alone. That certain systems of forces are mechanically equivalent and that certain patterns of deformations are equivalent set practical limits on what can be inferred from the simulations.

Copyright © 1994 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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