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From variability to reproducibility: the role of mechanics in the robustness of organism shape

Mathilde Dumond (ENS Lyon)


In all living organisms, size is a tightly controlled feature. Bacterial cells, insect wings, human hands, plant sepals, all have a specific size which is precisely determined for the organ to be effective - how could a fly make use of wings of different lengths, how could a growing flower be protected if its sepals did not have the right size.
Using biological experiments and continuum mechanical models, I will show that plants regulate the variability of organ shape, and that small-scale variability is tightly linked with organ-scale variability.