"An assembly of functionally coupled cells whose development is under the control of a common regulatory process" (G. NICOLIS & I. PRIGOGINE, 1978, p.24).
Such a regulatory process in a growing living organism secures the coherent ordering of its parts.
Morphogenetic fields secure that the dog will have four legs, two ears, two eyes, etc. and that all these parts will be orderly located in the global organism.
Their nature and operation remain still ill understood, but is actively researched, notably in France in Germany, in the U.K.and in the United States.
In France, B. WEISSBERG distinguishes static fields from dynamical ones, all however characterized by rhythms and rhythmic synchronies. For him, spatial organization is borne out of the "separation of territories corresponding to opposed phases" (an idea reminiscent of SABELLI's complementarity of opposites), while "periodical signals lead to periodical responses". Moreover, dynamic fields, (or toroids, or vortexes, or whorls) result of the interactions between two or more periodic fields. Finally, "a disappeared periodic field may leave marks of its geometric structure in an appropriate medium". This seems to correspond to PRAT's "aura" (1968, p.3-19).
In England, B. GOODWIN states: "The spatial organization of the whole derives from principles relating to global field behavior, together with constraints coming from the properties of the entities which are generated as parts" (As quoted by J. CASTI, 1990, p.171).
Morphogenetic fields seem to be related to "the existence of inhomogeneous distributions of chemicals, the so-called morphogens throughout the morphogenetic field" (I. PRIGOGINE and P.M. ALLEN, 1982, p.19).
According to G. NICOLIS and I. PRIGOGINE:"This suggest that at least early morphogenesis is a symmetry-breaking process associated with the formation of spatial compartments in a hitherto homogeneous tissue" (1978, p.25).
Again, this seems in accordance with the 1995 Nobel Physiology laureates research in developmental genetics. (New Scientist, nr 1999, p. 6, 1995).
Morphogenetic fields should not be confused with SHELDRAKE's morphic fields, even if this author rely on morphogenetic fields to establish his "Hypothesis of formative causation".
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Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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