The intersection of theory and application in elucidating pattern formation in developmental biology

H. G. Othmer, K. Painter, D. Umulis, C. Xue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

We discuss theoretical and experimental approaches to three distinct developmental systems that illustrate how theory can influence experimental work and vice-versa. The chosen systems - Drosophila melanogaster, bacterial pattern formation, and pigmentation patterns - illustrate the fundamental physical processes of signaling, growth and cell division, and cell movement involved in pattern formation and development. These systems exemplify the current state of theoretical and experimental understanding of how these processes produce the observed patterns, and illustrate how theoretical and experimental approaches can interact to lead to a better understanding of development. As John Bonner said long ago 'We have arrived at the stage where models are useful to suggest experiments, and the facts of the experiments in turn lead to new and improved models that suggest new experiments. By this rocking back and forth between the reality of experimental facts and the dream world of hypotheses, we can move slowly toward a satisfactory solution of the major problems of developmental biology.'

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-82
Number of pages80
JournalMathematical Modelling of Natural Phenomena
Volume4
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2009

Keywords

  • animal coat markings
  • bacterial patterns
  • chemotaxis
  • robustness

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