how life takes shape.

How does the complex shape of a multicellular plant or animal emerge from a humble cluster of cells? Without a doubt, developmental biology has shed much light on the nature of cell identity and its genetic specification, as well as the genetic regulation of body part orientation, location, and timing of appearance. Yet, global theories purporting to account for the emergence of organismal form during development and over the course of evolution have been few and far between.

There is a profound gap in our understanding of how the myriad organismal forms that exist today came to be in the first place. To attempt to fill this gap, Urform approaches the problem of organismal form from an entirely novel perspective. We explore the role of mechanical forces in determining the geometry of collectives of dividing cells at the very beginning of development. In essence, we seek the ultimate shape assumed by complex life in its earliest stages of formation.