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Development. 2015 Feb 1;142(3):409-19. doi: 10.1242/dev.107441.

Mathematically guided approaches to distinguish models of periodic patterning.

Author information

1
Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
2
Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA megason@hms.harvard.edu.

Abstract

How periodic patterns are generated is an open question. A number of mechanisms have been proposed--most famously, Turing's reaction-diffusion model. However, many theoretical and experimental studies focus on the Turing mechanism while ignoring other possible mechanisms. Here, we use a general model of periodic patterning to show that different types of mechanism (molecular, cellular, mechanical) can generate qualitatively similar final patterns. Observation of final patterns is therefore not sufficient to favour one mechanism over others. However, we propose that a mathematical approach can help to guide the design of experiments that can distinguish between different mechanisms, and illustrate the potential value of this approach with specific biological examples.

KEYWORDS:

Mathematical biology; Pattern formation; Periodic patterning; Pigment pattern; Reaction-diffusion; Turing

PMID:
25605777
PMCID:
PMC4302999
DOI:
10.1242/dev.107441
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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