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Volume 6 (2006), Pages 1424-1433
Review Article

Human Development VI: Supracellular Morphogenesis. The Origin of Biological and Cellular Order

1Quality of Life Research Center, Teglgårdstræde 4-8, DK-1452 Copenhagen K, Denmark
2Research Clinic for Holistic Medicine, Copenhagen, Denmark
3Nordic School of Holistic Medicine, Copenhagen, Denmark
4Scandinavian Foundation for Holistic Medicine, Sandvika, Norway
5Interuniversity College, Graz, Austria
6Zusman Child Development Center Soroka University Medical Center Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel
7National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Jerusalem, Israel
8Office of the Medical Director Division for Mental Retardation Ministry of Social Affairs, Jerusalem, Israel

Received 3 February 2006; Revised 23 October 2006; Accepted 23 October 2006

Academic Editor: P. Christian Endler

Copyright © 2006 Søren Ventegodt et al.


Uninterrupted morphogenesis shows the informational potentials of biological organisms. Experimentally disturbed morphogenesis shows the compensational dynamics of the biological informational system, which is the rich informational redundancy. In this paper, we use these data to describe morphogenesis in terms of the development of supracellular levels of the organism, and we define complex epigenesis and supracellular differentiation. We review the phenomena of regeneration and induction of Hydra and amphibians, and the higher animal’s informational needs for developing their complex nervous systems. We argue, also building on the NO-GO theorem for ontogenesis as chemistry, that the traditional chemical explanations of high-level informational events in ontogenesis, such as transmutation, regeneration, and induction, are insufficient. We analyze the informational dynamics of three embryonic compensatory reactions to different types of disturbances: (1) transmutations of the imaginal discs of insects, (2) regeneration after removal of embryonic tissue, and (3) embryonic induction, where two tissues that normally are separated experimentally are made to influence each other. We describe morphogenesis as a complex bifurcation, and the resulting morphological levels of the organism as organized in a fractal manner and supported by positional information. We suggest that some kind of real nonchemical phenomenon must be taking form in living organisms as an information-carrying dynamic fractal field, causing morhogenesis and supporting the organism’s morphology through time. We argue that only such a phenomenon that provides information-directed self-organization to the organism is able to explain the observed dynamic distribution of biological information through morphogenesis and the organism's ability to rejuvenate and heal.