News & AnalysisDevelopmental Biology

Turing Pattern Fingered for Digit Formation

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

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Summary

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.

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