News & AnalysisDevelopmental Biology

Turing Pattern Fingered for Digit Formation

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  14 Dec 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6113, pp. 1406
DOI: 10.1126/science.338.6113.1406

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


Sixty years ago, noted mathematician Alan Turing described how two interacting chemicals diffusing through space could form interacting wave patterns. Recently, experiments have suggested that Turing's mechanisms play a role in the growth of feathers, hair follicles, the branching pattern of lungs, and even the left-right asymmetry that puts the heart on the left side of the chest. In this issue of Science, a team of biologists offer fresh evidence that this theory guides how some parts of the body develop, as Turing's model also appears to describe the pattern that leads to digit formation in the developing mouse paw.