Morphogenetic processes: Application to cambial growth dynamics

Acta Biotheoretica 52 (4) (2004)
Both the physiological and the pathological morphogenetic processes that we can meet in embryogenesis, neogenesis and degenerative dysgenesis present common features: they are ruled by three different kinds of mechanisms, one related to cell migration, the second to cell differentiation and the third to cell proliferation. We deal here with an application to the cambial growth which essentially involves the third type of mechanism.Woody plants produce secondary tissue (secondary xylem and phloem) from a meristematic tissue called vascular cambium, responsible for the radial growth of a tree. This paper focuses on the formation of secondary xylem, considered in two dimensions in a cross-section framework. A new discrete modelling approach is used, based on the cellular scale, in order to attain a more accurate understanding of how the elementary microscopic behaviour of each cell takes part in the macroscopic morphogenesis. The mathematical model essentially uses an occurrence method simulating the main features of radial growth with simple geometric rules, such as Thom's division rule (Thom,1972)to account for the cell proliferation. The study applies to concrete instances in which the changes made in the geometrical cellular patterns of the vascular cambium clearly affect the shape of the tree, as in Pinus radiata (D. Don.).
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