Towards an integrated experimental-theoretical approach for assessing the mechanistic basis of hair and feather morphogenesis

K. J. Painter, G. S. Hunt, K. L. Wells, J. A. Johansson, D. J. Headon

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In his seminal 1952 paper, 'The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis', Alan Turing lays down a milestone in the application of theoretical approaches to understand complex biological processes. His deceptively simple demonstration that a system of reacting and diffusing chemicals could, under certain conditions, generate spatial patterning out of homogeneity provided an elegant solution to the problem of how one of nature's most intricate events occurs: the emergence of structure and form in the developing embryo. The molecular revolution that has taken place during the six decades following this landmark publication has now placed this generation of theoreticians and biologists in an excellent position to rigorously test the theory and, encouragingly, a number of systems have emerged that appear to conform to some of Turing's fundamental ideas. In this paper, we describe the history and more recent integration between experiment and theory in one of the key models for understanding pattern formation: the emergence of feathers and hair in the skins of birds and mammals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-450
Number of pages18
JournalInterface Focus
Volume2
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Aug 2012

Keywords

  • BIOLOGICAL PATTERN-FORMATION
  • activator-inhibitor
  • FOLLICLE INITIATION
  • DIFFERENTIAL ADHESION
  • EXPRESSION TIME DELAYS
  • SPATIAL-PATTERN
  • REACTION-DIFFUSION SYSTEM
  • morphogenesis
  • MESENCHYMAL MORPHOGENESIS
  • POSITIONAL INFORMATION
  • feather buds and hair follicles
  • reaction-diffusion
  • DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY
  • Turing patterns
  • skin patterning
  • LATERAL-INHIBITION

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