What determines organ size during development and regeneration?
The sizes of living organisms span over 20 orders of magnitude or so. This daunting observation could intimidate researchers aiming to understand the general mechanisms controlling growth. However, recent progress suggests the existence of principles common to organisms as diverse as fruit flies, mice and humans. As we review here, these studies have provided insights into both autonomous and non-autonomous mechanisms controlling organ growth as well as some of the principles underlying growth coordination between organs and across bilaterally symmetrical organisms. This research tackles several aspects of developmental biology and integrates inputs from physics, mathematical modelling and evolutionary biology. Although many open questions remain, this work also helps to shed light on medically related conditions such as tissue and limb regeneration, as well as metabolic homeostasis and cancer.