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Math Biosci. 2007 Sep;209(1):30-50. Epub 2007 Feb 8.

Travelling gradients in interacting morphogen systems.

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


Morphogen gradients are well known to play several important roles in development; however the mechanisms underlying the formation and maintenance of these gradients are often not well understood. In this work, we investigate whether the presence of a secondary morphogen can increase the robustness of the primary morphogen gradient to perturbation, thereby providing a more stable mechanism for development. We base our model around the interactions of Fibroblast Growth Factor 8 and retinoic acid, which have been shown to act as morphogens in many developmental systems. In particular, we investigate the formation of opposing gradients of these morphogens along the antero-posterior axis of vertebrate embryos, thereby controlling temporal and spatial aspects of axis segmentation and neuronal differentiation.

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