Review

Reaction-Diffusion Model as a Framework for Understanding Biological Pattern Formation

Science  24 Sep 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5999, pp. 1616-1620
DOI: 10.1126/science.1179047

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Abstract

The Turing, or reaction-diffusion (RD), model is one of the best-known theoretical models used to explain self-regulated pattern formation in the developing animal embryo. Although its real-world relevance was long debated, a number of compelling examples have gradually alleviated much of the skepticism surrounding the model. The RD model can generate a wide variety of spatial patterns, and mathematical studies have revealed the kinds of interactions required for each, giving this model the potential for application as an experimental working hypothesis in a wide variety of morphological phenomena. In this review, we describe the essence of this theory for experimental biologists unfamiliar with the model, using examples from experimental studies in which the RD model is effectively incorporated.

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