As man-made systems become more complex and autonomous, there is a growing need for novel engineering methods that offer self-construction, adaptation to the environment, and self-repair. In a step towards developing such methods, we demonstrate how a simple model multicellular organism can assemble itself by replication from a single cell and finally express a fundamental behavior: foraging. Previous studies have employed evolutionary approaches to this problem. Instead, we aim at explicit design of self-constructing and -repairing systems by hierarchical specification of elementary intracellular mechanisms via a kind of genetic code. The interplay between individual cells and the gradually increasing self-created complexity of the local structure that surrounds them causes the serial unfolding of the final functional organism. The developed structure continuously feeds back to the development process, and so the system is also capable of self-repair.

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