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21 de enero de 2014

Symposium on SIZE and SHAPE Göttingen 2014

 Symposium on SIZE and SHAPE
April 2nd - April 4th 2014
Georg-August-University Göttingen, Germany

This symposium attempts to bring researchers from various research fields together to foster interaction and fruitful discussions about the future of research on size and shape.

Within species-specific limits, all animals on earth seem to be constrained to a given size. For example, a fruit fly will never grow larger than a few millimeters while elephants are among the largest animals. While the limits of growth are mainly defined by intrinsic (genetic) information, the growth within those limits is also influenced by environmental factors. How are those aspects of growth regulation integrated to control individual body size? Similarly, the shape of organisms and their organs is species-specific. A maple tree is easily distinguishable from a birch tree by comparing the shape of their leaves. And the wings of a dragonfly are clearly different from those of a ladybird beetle. How is the formation of a given shape defined? On first glance, many open questions in the field of research on size and shape appear rather trivial but they touch basic concepts of biology. Answering those fundamental questions leads towards understanding how organisms and their organs develop, how misregulation of developmental programs results in diseases like cancer and how the breathtaking diversity in nature evolved.

Extensive progress from several fields of research has been made to shed light on some of those biological questions. Cellular and developmental biological research revealed several morphogenetic processes and genetic factors that are involved in body and organ size control. The field of evolutionary biology starts to unveil the forces that might be involved in shaping complex organs and controlling their size. In recent years the power of mathematical modeling has extensively been explored to help understanding both developmental processes and evolutionary forces. And finally, geometric morphometrics approaches are constantly developed which facilitate the proper description of morphology.

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