Drawing to extend Waddington’s Epigenetic Landscape


The authors, an artist, a mathematician and a biologist, describe their collaboration examining the potential of drawing to further the understanding of biological processes.

As a case study, this article considers C.H. Waddington’s powerful visual representation of the “epigenetic landscape,” whose purpose is to unify research in genetics, embryology and evolutionary biology. The authors explore the strengths and limitations of Waddington’s landscape and attempt to transcend the latter through a collaborative series of exploratory images. Through careful description of this drawing process, the authors touch on its epistemological consequences for all participants.


G. Anderson , B. Verd, J. Jaeger, Drawing to extend Waddington’s Epigenetic Landscape, Leonardo Vol 53, Issue 3 (2020) 256–262