Fluently Exploring Morphospace

Dynamical patterning modules: a "pattern language" for development and evolution of multicellular form. Stuart A. Newman and Ramray Bhat. open

Schematic representation of metazoan forms potentially generated by single and combinatorial action of dynamical patterning modules (DPMs).

In this paper we suggest a way out of these apparent inconsistencies by arguing that pre-metazoans were highly plastic entities and that early morphological diversification was an expression of the primitively loose relationship between phenotype and genotype.

Specifically, networks and pathways embodying DPMs, whether or not they incorporate transcriptional regulation, constitute the driving principles of the evolution of development. This collection of molecular-physical modules in effect constitutes a “pattern language” (Alexander et al., 1977) for multicellular form.

Because the DPMs could have been deployed combinatorially and non-hierarchically in ancient form the taxonomic relationships among these groups may not be direct, nor would they necessarily conform either to anatomical affinities or a straightforward developmental logic.

The grammar of this language emerged abruptly more than 500 million years ago when a group of proteins and pathways of the unicellular world, by coming to operate on the mesoscale, mobilized the physical laws pertaining to soft-matter and excitable media in the construction of multicellular organisms.


This makes me wonder if the internet still exist in a "pre-cambrian" era where the structure of software code bears little resemblance to its function. If a "pattern language" leads out of this situation, perhaps the language of federated wiki, with its story of items and journal of actions, might be a candidate for this language.

Some of us are all about fluently exploring the internet morphospace before every niche is filled with click-bait.