An imaginal disc is one of the parts of a holometabolous insect larva that will become a portion of the outside of the adult insect during the pupal transformation. The role of the imaginal disc in insect development was first elucidated by Jan Swammerdam. During the pupal stage, many larval structures are broken down, and adult structures, including the discs, undergo rapid development. Each disc everts and elongates, with the central portion of the disc becoming the distal part of whichever appendage it is forming: the wing, leg, antenna, etc. During the larval stage, the cells in the growing disc appear undifferentiated, but their developmental fate in the adult is already determined.
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Have you heard of imaginal cells? Although they are associated with insect life-cycles — for me, they are a great metaphor for the way the world is undergoing transformation at the moment. Imaginal cells are the ones that create the incredible process of metamorphosis that occurs when a caterpillar changes into a butterfly. These cells hold all the potential for the future, but initially they act separately, before combining as one to create something incredible that is a great improvement on their previous existence. The process of this change is amazing. Within the chrysalis, the structure of the caterpillar dissolves into a soupy organic mush. Initially, each of the imaginal cells operates as a single-cell organism — entirely independent of one another. The immune system of the caterpillar even identifies them as threats and attacks them.
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As children, many of us learn about the wondrous process by which a caterpillar morphs into a butterfly. The story usually begins with a very hungry caterpillar hatching from an egg. The caterpillar, or what is more scientifically termed a larva, stuffs itself with leaves, growing plumper and longer through a series of molts in which it sheds its skin. One day, the caterpillar stops eating, hangs upside down from a twig or leaf and spins itself a silky cocoon or molts into a shiny chrysalis. Within its protective casing, the caterpillar radically transforms its body, eventually emerging as a butterfly or moth.
He envisioned a better future and encouraged us to step into it. Imagination is the basis for the creation of novelty; new ideas, new concepts, new everything. In biology, there is a term called Imaginal Cells.