All of the published theories of neurulation, (some of them forgotten but never disproved), are reviewed for the purpose of assessing just where we are in coming to a satisfactory explanation of this critical step in the formation of the brain and spinal cord, whose occasional failure leads to neural tube birth defects. A new approach to evaluating these theories is introduced, namely finite element analysis, along with a discussion of its promise and present limitations.
‘To think that heredity will build organic beings without mechanical means is a piece of unscientific mysticism’ (His, 1888).
- cell adhesion
- computational embryology
- Eularian buckling
- finite element analysis
- neural plate
- neural tube defects
↵* Dedicated to Leslie J. Biberman.