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Biological Pattern Formation and Physico-Chemical Laws

  • Physical principles underlying biological pattern formation are discussed. In particular, the combination of local self-enhancement and long-range (“lateral”) inhibition (Gierer and Meinhardt, 1972) accounts for de-novo pattern formation, and for striking features of developmental regulation such as induction, spacing and proportion regulation of centers of activation in tissues and cells. Part I explains physical principles of spatial organisation in biological development. Part II demonstrates in mathematical terms that and how short-range activation and long-range inhibition are conditions for the generation of spatial concentration patterns. The conditions can be expressed in terms of ranges, rates and orders of reactions. These conditions, in turn, can also be derived by analysis of dynamic instabilities by means of Fourier waves, showing the neither obvious nor trivial relation between the latter approach and the theory based primarily on autocatalysis and lateral inhibition.

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Author:Alfred Gierer
Document Type:Conference Proceeding
Date of Publication (online):2006/11/13
Release Date:2006/11/13
Tag:autocatalysis; developmental-biology; embryology; lateral-inhibition; pattern-formation; reaction-diffusion
Source:Synergetics and dynamic instabilities : Varenna on Lake Como, Villa Monastero, 24 June - 4 July 1986, S.151-174
Institutes:BBAW / Veröffentlichungen von Akademiemitgliedern
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 50 Naturwissenschaften / 500 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik