The Society for the Study of Development and Growth annually conducts a symposium which brings together for several days a group of active investigators to discuss important problems in the field of growth. Participants represent many scientific disciplines, including not only biology but also the related fields of chemistry, physics, and the medical sciences. Guest speakers present prepared papers in which they report recent research in their laboratories, review progress in the general area with which they are concerned, and often point the way to fresh interpretations and new paths of investigation. Problems of both abnormal and normal growth receive attention. So far as possible, the symposia are conducted in an informal manner; vigorous discussion in the lecture hall is often continued at the dinner table and later in informal groups on the grass under the trees. The prepared papers, frequently revised in the light of discussions at the time of the symposium, become the chapters of the symposium volume.
The topic chosen for the Twelfth Growth Symposium was Biological Specificity and Growth. In developmental biology the phenomenon of specificity occupies a prominent position. When it can be determined that interactions among components of a biological system are such that specific activities occur, or when a particular stimulus, internal or external, evokes a specific response, it becomes of considerable importance to discover the basis for the selectivity and specificity concerned. It is with an examination and evaluation of the role of specificity in growth and differentiation that this volume deals. The participants in the symposium have approached the problem at different levels of organization and by the use of a variety of biological materials and techniques. Taken together the chapters of this volume represent an assessment of our present knowledge of the subject.
This symposium was planned jointly by the Society for the Study of Development and Growth and the Committee on Developmental Biology of the National Research Council. It was held at the University of New Hampshire, Durham, June 14-22, 1953. Grateful acknowledgment is made to the members of the biological faculty and to the administration of the university for their hospitality and for the excellent facilities they so generously provided. Financial support which made the symposium possible was received from the American Cancer Society, acting through the Committee on Growth of the National Research Council; the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health; the NationalScience Foundation . . .