Hydra morphogenesis as phase transition dynamics

Oded Agam, Erez Braun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We utilize whole-body Hydra regeneration from a small tissue segment to develop a physics framework for animal morphogenesis. Introducing experimental controls over this process, an external electric field and a drug that blocks gap junctions, allows us to characterize the essential step in the morphological transition —from a spherical shape to an elongated spheroid. We find that spatial fluctuations of the Ca2+ distribution in the Hydra's tissue drive this transition and construct a field-theoretic model that explains the morphological transition as a first-order-like phase transition resulting from the coupling of the Ca2+ field and the tissue's local curvature. Various predictions of this model are verified experimentally.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number27001
JournalLettere Al Nuovo Cimento
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2023

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