Origins of the Embryo: self-organization through cybernetic regulation

<p>The construction of an embryo from a single cell precursor is a highly complex process. Evolutionary emergence of the first embryos is even more complex, and involves both a transition to multicellularity along with the establishment of developmental mechanisms. In this chapter, we propose that embryogenesis relies on a community of cells conforming to a regulatory model of emergent multicellularity. This model draws together multiple threads in the scientific literature, from complexity theory to cybernetics, and from thermodynamic entropy to artificial life. All of these strands come together to inform a model of goal-oriented regulation for emergent structures in early life. This is an important step in the evolution of early life, as well as the emergence of complex life in the earliest habitats. Our model, called the cybernetic embryo, allows for a systems-level view of the embryogenetic process.</p>