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Research into how mechanical forces shape animal development goes back much earlier than mentioned in your News Feature (see Nature589, 186–188; 2021). For example, German embryologist Erich Blechschmidt began his investigations in developmental mechanics in 1934. The idea that development results from an interaction of mechanical forces and genes is encapsulated in his 1948 book, the title of which can be translated as Mechanical Effects on the Genome.