A theory of biological pattern formation

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The paper addresses the formation of striking patterns within originally near-homogenous tissue, the process prototypical for embryology, and represented in particularly purist form by cut sections of hydra regenerating, by internal reorganisation of the pre-existing tissue, a complete animal with head and foot. The essential requirements are autocatalytic, self-enhancing activation, combined with inhibitory or depletion effects of wider range – “lateral inhibition”. Not only de-novo-pattern formation, but also well known, striking features of developmental regulation such as induction, inhibition, and proportion regulation can be explained on this basis. The theory provides a mathematical recipe for the construction of molecular models with criteria for the necessary non-linear interactions. It has since been widely applied to different developmental processes.
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Archival date: 2015-05-25
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