This book tackles a major unsolved problem in developmental biology--how does chemistry create architecture outside cells? The underlying hypothesis of this book is that the fibers are orientated by self-assembly just outside the cells during a mobile liquid crystalline phase prior to stabilization; the author demonstrates that the commonest orientations of the fibers are plywood laminates (orthogonal and helicoidal), and as parallel fibers. Finally, he shows that these may be imitated in the laboratory by liquid crystalline chemicals. Many fine photographs will aid the initiated in recognizing the various kinds of fibers.
"This listing of animal and plant structures with different arrangements of fibrous composites is interspersed with interesting and relevant snippets of information on a variety of biological mechanisms and functions...successfully supports the author's claim that extracellular composites play a more dynamic role in development biology than is generally appreciated." Angus J.F. Russel, Times Higher Education Supplement As usual, Neville is generous with his ideas and produces blueprints for a dozen or so projects, some to be pursued in well-known holiday resorts. This book is such a good read that I wouldn't mind taking it along too." J.F.V. Vincent, Science