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J Math Biol. 2006 Apr;52(4):458-82. Epub 2006 Feb 7.

A mathematical investigation of a Clock and Wavefront model for somitogenesis.

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Centre for Mathematical Biology, Mathematical Institute, 24-29 St Giles', Oxford, OX1 3LB, UK.


Somites are transient blocks of cells that form sequentially along the antero-posterior axis of vertebrate embryos. They give rise to the vertebrae, ribs and other associated features of the trunk. In this work we develop and analyse a mathematical formulation of a version of the Clock and Wavefront model for somite formation, where the clock controls when the boundaries of the somites form and the wavefront determines where they form. Our analysis indicates that this interaction between a segmentation clock and a wavefront can explain the periodic pattern of somites observed in normal embryos. We can also show that a simplification of the model provides a mechanism for predicting the anomalies resulting from perturbation of the wavefront.

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