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Science 336 (6078): 187-191

Copyright © 2012 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Computational Approaches to Developmental Patterning

Luis G. Morelli,1,2,3 Koichiro Uriu,1,4 Saúl Ares,2,5,6 Andrew C. Oates1,*

Abstract: Computational approaches are breaking new ground in understanding how embryos form. Here, we discuss recent studies that couple precise measurements in the embryo with appropriately matched modeling and computational methods to investigate classic embryonic patterning strategies. We include signaling gradients, activator-inhibitor systems, and coupled oscillators, as well as emerging paradigms such as tissue deformation. Parallel progress in theory and experiment will play an increasingly central role in deciphering developmental patterning.

1 Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Pfotenhauerstrasse 108, 01307 Dresden, Germany.
2 Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Nöthnitzer Strasse 38, 01187 Dresden, Germany.
3 Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Departamento de Física, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Ciudad Universitaria, 1428 Buenos Aires, Argentina.
4 Theoretical Biology Laboratory, RIKEN Advanced Science Institute, Saitama 351-0198, Japan.
5 Logic of Genomic Systems Laboratory, Centro Nacional de Biotecnología–Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Calle Darwin 3, 28049 Madrid, Spain.
6 Grupo Interdisciplinar de Sistemas Complejos (GISC), Spain.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: oates{at}

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