Skip to main content

See also:

Turing’s theory of morphogenesis validated by experiment

Alan Turing's theory of morphogenesis has been validated by experiment by researchers from Brandeis University and the University of Pittsburgh according to their report in the March, 10, 2014, edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

This illustration is a montage of photographs, taken from Figure 4 of 'Testing Turing's Theory of Morphogenesis in Chemical Cells,' depicting the evolution of physical morphogenesis.
Credit: Seth Fraden Usage Restrictions: None
Alan Turing memorial statue in Sackville Park.
Kurt seebauer This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Turning postulated that identical copies of a single cell can differentiate into different cellular or gross morphological structures through the action of chemicals and the osmosis of the cells and chemicals through the limited area available in the cell wall. Turning’s original theory was published in 1952.

Seth Fraden, professor of physics at Brandeis University, and Irv Epstein, the Henry F. Fischbach Professor of Chemistry at Brandeis University, proved Turning’s theory of morphogenesis to be valid with a synthetic cell structure that produced all six of the cell forms predicted by Turning with a chemical activator and a chemical inhibitor. The researchers also found a seventh form not predicted by Turning. The researchers proved that forms change through osmosis as Turning predicted.

The applications for this discovery include theoretical biology, practical biology, material sciences, and robotics.

Alan Turning was a genius. Turning was in majority responsible for breaking the Enigma Code during World War II that is estimated to have saved over a million lives. Turning was the father of computer science as we know it today.

Turning committed suicide at the age of 41 in 1954 after the British government denounced him, convicted him of indecency, stripped him of his security clearance, and forced him to undergo chemical castration because he was gay.