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IET Syst Biol. 2013 Apr;7(2):38-49.

Systems approach to developmental biology--designs for robust patterning.

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  • 1Laboratory for Developmental Morphogeometry, Center for Developmental Biology, RIKEN, Kobe 650-0047, Japan.


Patterning is an important step in animal development that generates spatially non-uniform gene expression patterns or spatially heterogeneous cellular responses. Patterning is realised by the generation and reading of positional information provided by spatial gradients of morphogens, diffusive chemicals in the extracellular environment. To achieve normal development, accurate patterning that is robust against noise is necessary. Here the authors describe how morphogen gradient formation and gradient interpretation processes are designed to achieve highly reproducible patterning. Furthermore, recent advancements in measurement and imaging techniques have enabled researchers to obtain quantitative dynamic and multi-physical data, not only for chemical events, but also for the geometrical and mechanical properties of cells in vivo. The authors briefly review some recent studies on the effects of such non-chemical events on patterning.

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