Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Biophysics of Nervous Embryo-Fetal Development

Version 1 : Received: 28 February 2021 / Approved: 2 March 2021 / Online: 2 March 2021 (16:56:14 CET)

How to cite: Tozzi, A. Biophysics of Nervous Embryo-Fetal Development. Preprints 2021, 2021030111. Tozzi, A. Biophysics of Nervous Embryo-Fetal Development. Preprints 2021, 2021030111.


The dynamical processes of living systems are characterized by the cooperative interaction of many units. This claim enables us to portray the embryo-fetal development of the central and peripheral nervous systems in terms of assemblies of building blocks. We describe how the structure and arrangement of nervous fibers is - at least partially - dictated by biophysical and topological constraints. The far-flung field of soft-matter polymers/nematic colloids sheds new light on the neurulation in mammalian embryos, suggesting an intriguing testable hypothesis: the development of the central and peripheral nervous systems might be correlated with the occurrence of local thermal changes in embryo-fetal tissues. Further, we show a correlation between the fullerene-like arrangement of the cortical microcolumns and the Frank-Kasper phases of artificial quasicrystals assemblies. The last, but not the least, we explain how and why the multisynaptic ascending nervous fibers connecting the peripheral receptors to the neocortical areas can be viewed as the real counterpart of mathematical tools such as knot theory and braid groups. Their group structure and generator operations point towards a novel approach to long-standing questions concerning human sensation and perception, leading to the suggestion that the very arrangement and intermingling of the peripheral nervous fibers contributes to the cortical brain activity. In touch with the old claims of D’Arcy Thompson, we conclude that the arrangement and the pattern make the function in a variety of biological instances, leading to countless testable hypotheses.


soft matter; liquid crystals; braid group; anyon; brain; microcolumn


Biology and Life Sciences, Biophysics

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