Send to

Choose Destination
J Theor Biol. 1987 Apr 21;125(4):369-84.

What is the status of reaction-diffusion theory thirty-four years after turing?

Author information

Department of Chemistry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


Physicochemical explanations of phenomena are divisible into three classes: structure, equilibrium and kinetics. For the phenomena of biological development, many physical scientists have the preconception that the explanations must turn out to be principally kinetic. In this class of theory, reaction-diffusion is by far the most extensively developed, and is worthy of attention both for its own sake and because many of its features well exemplify the nature of the broader field of kinetic theory. Reaction-diffusion should be thought of as a class, rather than a species, of theory. This review addresses three aspects: first, the general nature of the two-morphogen interaction as first proposed by Turing and incorporated in many later models; second, the specifics of these later models and their probable relative scope; third, the current state of attempts to identify the chemical nature of morphogens. It is concluded that reaction-diffusion in particular, and kinetic theory in general, are now slowly emerging from the almost total neglect by biologists which reaction-diffusion suffered for its first 20 years.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center