Turing Patterning in the Mouse Hairs

Science's STKE  05 Dec 2006:
Vol. 2006, Issue 364, pp. tw413
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3642006tw413

More than 50 years ago, Alan Turing provided a theoretical explanation of biological pattern formation through a hypothesis of reaction-diffusion, whereby patterns, such as that for hair follicles or feather distribution, can form as a result of positive and negative feedback regulation of an inhibitor and activator. Turing models have since been used to account for patterns in many chemical systems but have not been successful in explaining biological patterning in developmental model systems such as the fly. Sick et al. have now examined hair follicle arrangements in mice that arise through the WNT activator protein and its inhibitor DKK and show through computation modeling that reaction-diffusion can account for the patterning observed.

S. Sick, S. Reinker, J. Timmer, T. Schlake, WNT and DKK determine hair follicle spacing through a reaction-diffusion mechanism. Science 314, 1447-1450 (2006). [Abstract] [Full Text]

P. K. Maini, R. E. Baker, C.-M. Chuong, The Turing model comes of molecular age. Science 314, 1397-1398 (2006). [Summary] [Full Text]