Patterning and polarity in morphogenesis

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A joint Guest Edited Collection from Communications Biology and Scientific Reports.

How the shape of organs is established during embryonic development has fascinated scientists since its first description, yet we still lack a deep mechanistic understanding of the cellular processes that drive morphogenesis. Morphogenesis involves a complex interplay of gene regulation, signalling pathways and mechanical cues, and is guided by the processes of tissue patterning – whereby cells adopt certain cell fates and organise into a tissue – and polarity establishment – the asymmetric arrangement of cellular proteins that directs the organisation and orientation of distinct tissue layers. Technological developments such as super resolution microscopy, single-cell technologies, gene editing techniques, synthetic biology, and computational analytical techniques have significantly increased the spatio-temporal detail with which we can probe the mechanisms of morphogenesis.

This Collection welcomes articles that shed light on the molecular and cellular mechanisms and signalling pathways governing tissue patterning and the establishment of polarity during morphogenesis, as well as research using advanced techniques to further our understanding of morphogenesis across scales.

Light micrograph of a developing fish egg on a white background


Simona Chera leads a Research Group at the University of Bergen, Norway. Her group investigates the cellular and molecular mechanisms of fate acquisition, maintenance, and plasticity by using a range of in vivo and in vitro techniques combined with omics assays. Dr Chera has been an Editorial Board Member for Communications Biology since 2020.



Caroline Formstone is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire, UK. Her research interests focus on Planar cell Polarity in Embryonic Development and Disease with a specific interest in skin and neural development as well as breast cancer. Dr Formstone has been an Editorial Board Member for Scientific Reports since 2018.



Vladimir Korzh is a Visiting Professor and Senior Staff Scientist at the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IIMCB), Warsaw, Poland. His research in the field of developmental biology focuses on molecular mechanisms of development of the heart and brain, bioimaging and research methodology. Professor Korzh has been an Editorial Board Member for Scientific Reports since 2015.



Edwina McGlinn is a Developmental Biologist at the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute, Monash University, Australia. Her lab investigates novel gene regulatory networks driving growth and patterning of the early vertebrate embryo. Much of her work centres on Hox gene networks. Professor McGlinn has been an Editorial Board Member for Communications Biology since 2020.