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Volume 561 Issue 7723, 20 September 2018

Grow with the flow

The cover is an artistic rendering of the elongation of the posterior body axis in a vertebrate embryo, highlighting the similarity between the physics of tissue morphogenesis and glass moulding. In this issue, Otger Campàs and his colleagues combine in vivo measurements of tissue mechanics, analysis of cellular dynamics and theoretical modelling to reveal the physical mechanism behind tissue morphogenesis in zebrafish embryos. The higher activity of cells at the posterior end of the body (glowing orange) ‘melts’ the tissue into a fluid-like state that enables remodelling. As body elongation proceeds, cells progressively become less active (blueish region), ‘freezing’ the tissue into a solid-like state that establishes tissue architecture. The fluid-to-solid transition is caused by cellular jamming of the foam-like (cellular) tissue architecture.

Cover image: Brian Long

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