The Chemistry and Physiology of Growth

The Chemistry and Physiology of Growth

The Chemistry and Physiology of Growth

The Chemistry and Physiology of Growth


An architect must build upon the past. A study of the growth of animal and plant organisms must start from a firm foundation in the mechanics of growth which finds its most eloquent expression in D'Arcy Thompson Growth and Form.

The symmetrical groupings which cells take in forming parts of organisms, the time required for the attainment of such groups, the numerous internal and external forces that give form to the individual cells, the symmetry of form of the whole organism and between organisms, all these and numerous other precisely measured parameters are the foundations upon which the students of growth must build.

The individual chapters of this book represent a number of sturdy columns that are being erected upon these foundations. Examined individually they make the reader want to take part in their construction. Viewed as a whole they present a hope for a future understanding of the phenomenon of growth.

One of the fundamental processes in growth of plant or animal consists in the manufacture of an ever-increasing amount and variety of proteins. These proteins form the major structural components as well as the organic catalysts of all living cells. Hence an analysis of the mechanisms involved in the "Synthesis of Proteins" (Chapter I) is an important part of a study of growth.

"Morphology at the Molecular Level" (Chapter II) is rapidly becoming an essential aspect of growth. It has already contributed greatly to our understanding of the problem of the arrangement of protein and other molecules within a cell, which determines the cells highly specific form, symmetry and reactivity.

At this point a question arises. What determines the mass and direction which these structural units and their accompanying water and salts acquire in the growing organism? The problems raised by this question differ somewhat in the growth of plant from that of animal organisms. For this reason Chapters III and IV deal with "Plant Growth Hormones" and "Vitamins and Growth Factors."

Organisms, whether unicellular or multicellular, are composed of cells which have arisen from preexisting cells. This is the fundamental biological phenomenon of growth. Our present knowledge and future prospects of understanding this phenomenon have been greatly accelerated in recent years by studies on the "Kinetics of Growth of Microorganisms" (Chapter V). This leads naturally to a desire to know more . . .

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