Team, Visitors, External Collaborators
Overall Objectives
Research Program
Highlights of the Year
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: Research Program

Axis3: Plasticity and robustness of forms

In this research axis, building on the insights gained from axes 1 and 2 on the mechanisms driving form development, we aim to explore the mechanistic origin of form plasticity and robustness. At the ontogenetic scale, we will study the ability of specific developmental mechanisms to buffer, or even to exploit, biological noise during morphogenesis. For plants, we will develop models capturing morphogenetic reactions to specific environmental changes (such as water stress or pruning), and their ability to modulate or even to reallocate growth in an opportunistic manner.

At the phylogenetic scale, we will investigate new connections that can be drawn from the use of a better understanding of form development mechanisms in the evolution of forms. In animals, we will use ascidians as a model organism to investigate how the variability of certain genomes relates to the variability of their forms. In plants, models of the genetic regulation of form development will be used to test hypotheses on the evolution of regulatory gene networks of key morphogenetic mechanisms such as branching. We believe that a better mechanistic understanding of developmental processes should shed new light on old evo-devo questions related to the evolution of biological forms, such as understanding the origin of developmental constraints (Raff, R. A. (1996). The Shape of Life: Genes, Development, and the Evolution of Form. Univ. Chicago Press.) how the internal rules that govern form development, such as chemical interactions and physical constraints, may channel form changes so that selection is limited in the phenotype it can achieve?