Computer-assisted tracking of the shapes of many cells over long periods of development has driven the exploration of novel ways to quantify the contributions of different cell behaviours to morphogenesis. A handful of similar methods have now been published that are used to calculate tissue deformations (strain rates) in epithelia. These methods are further used to quantify strain rates attributable to each of the cell behaviours in the tissue, such as cell shape change, cell rearrangement and cell division, that together sum to the tissue strain rates. In this review, aimed at developmental biologists, I will introduce the general approach, characterize differences in current approaches and highlight extensions of these methods that remain to be fully explored. The methods will make a major contribution to the emerging field of tissue mechanics. Precisely quantified strain rates are an essential first step towards exploring constitutive equations relating stress to strain via tissue mechanical properties.
This article is part of the themed issue ‘Systems morphodynamics: understanding the development of tissue hardware’.
One contribution of 13 to a theme issue ‘Systems morphodynamics: understanding the development of tissue hardware’.
- Accepted December 5, 2016.
- © 2017 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.