Institute for the Physics of Living Systems


IPLS Seminar - Professor Michel C Milinkovitch (University of Geneva, Switzerland)

22 April 2015, 11:00 am–12:00 pm

Event Information

Open to



MRC/Laboratory for Molecular Biology Seminar Room

Title: The EvoDevo and Physics of Skin Appendages and Skin Colours in Vertebrates

Abstract: Combining evolutionary developmental biology, physics, and computer graphics, we investigate the emergence of both complexity and diversity of integumentary traits in vertebrates. More specifically, we perform descriptive and mechanistic analyses of morphogenesis and patterning of skin colour and skin appendages in reptiles and mammals. First, I will show that the scales on the face and jaws of crocodilians are not genetically-controlled developmental units and that their spatial patterning is generated through physical cracking of the skin. Second, I will show that rapid skin colour changes in chameleons are not caused by dispersion/aggregation of pigment-containing organelles but by the active tuning of an intracellular 3D photonic structure.