Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • News & Views
  • Published:


Living proof of effective defects

A class of biological matter including elongated cells and filaments can be understood in the framework of active nematic liquid crystals. Within these systems, topological defects emerge and give rise to remarkable collective behaviours.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Fig. 1: Topological defects in living systems.


  1. Doostmohammadi, A., Ignes-Mullol, J., Yeomans, J. M. & Sagues, F. Nat. Commun. 9, 3246 (2018).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  2. Maroudas-Sacks, Y. et al. Nat. Phys. (2020).

  3. Meacock, O. J., Doostmohammadi, A., Foster, K. R., Yeomans, J. M. & Durham, W. M. Nat. Phys. (2020).

  4. Copenhagen, K., Alert, R., Wingreen, N. S. & Shaevitz, J. W. Nat. Phys. (2020).

  5. Sanchez, T., Chen, D. T., DeCamp, S. J., Heymann, M. & Dogic, Z. Nature 491, 431–434 (2012).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  6. Duclos, G., Erlenkämper, C., Joanny, J.-F. & Silberzan, P. Nat. Phys. 13, 58–62 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Kawaguchi, K., Kageyama, R. & Sano, M. Nature 545, 327–331 (2017).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  8. Penrose, L. S. Nature 205, 544–546 (1965).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  9. Saw, T. B. et al. Nature 544, 212–216 (2017).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to B. Ladoux.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Fardin, MA., Ladoux, B. Living proof of effective defects. Nat. Phys. 17, 172–173 (2021).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing