Science in Society Archive

Electrodynamic Activities and Their Role in Organisation of Body Pattern

Important paper published in 1992 now available for download in pdf

This paper reports some of the highlights of our investigations (both published and in progress) into the role of electrodynamical activities in the organization of body pattern in Drosophila. 1. Exposure of populations of synchronously developing embryos for 30 minutes to weak static magnetic fields (0.5 to 9 mT) during the first three hours of development results in a high proportion of characteristic body pattern abnormalities in larvae which hatch 24 hours later. As the energies involved are below thermal threshold, there can be no significant effect unless there is a high degree of cooperativity or coherence in the pattern determination processes reacting to the external field (Ho et al., 1991a). 2. Developing embryos show profuse electrical activities (recorded with microelectrodes placed within the polar pockets) starting at least as early as 40 m after fertilization and continuing well into cellularization. The activities are highly patterned, and evolve in the course of development. They may reflect changes in polarization of the embryonic field associated with the coherent excitations predicted by Frohlich (1 968; 1980). 3. Populations of synchronously developing embryos show self-emission and light rescattering characteristics that also change with developmental time. In addition, embryos less than 40 m old exhibit an entirely new phenomenon in the form of intense luminescent flashes which can appear any time from one to 20 minutes, and up to 8 hours after light stimulation. These superdelayed luminescent flashes may result from cooperative interactions among embryos within the entire population, which serve to synchronize development to external light as Zeitgeber (Ho et al., 1991 b).

Article first published 07/12/12

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