A geometrical perspective on development

Dev Growth Differ. 2023 Jun;65(5):245-254. doi: 10.1111/dgd.12855. Epub 2023 May 25.


Cell fate decisions emerge as a consequence of a complex set of gene regulatory networks. Models of these networks are known to have more parameters than data can determine. Recent work, inspired by Waddington's metaphor of a landscape, has instead tried to understand the geometry of gene regulatory networks. Here, we describe recent results on the appropriate mathematical framework for constructing these landscapes. This allows the construction of minimally parameterized models consistent with cell behavior. We review existing examples where geometrical models have been used to fit experimental data on cell fate and describe how spatial interactions between cells can be understood geometrically.

Keywords: Waddington landscape; cell fate decisions; dynamical system theory.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Gene Regulatory Networks*
  • Models, Genetic