Pattern formation is a key aspect of development. Adult zebrafish exhibit a striking striped pattern generated through the self-organisation of three different chromatophores. Numerous investigations have revealed a multitude of individual cell-cell interactions important for this self-organisation, but it has remained unclear whether these known biological rules were sufficient to explain pattern formation. To test this, we present an individual-based mathematical model incorporating all the important cell-types and known interactions. The model qualitatively and quantitatively reproduces wild type and mutant pigment pattern development. We use it to resolve a number of outstanding biological uncertainties, including the roles of domain growth and the initial iridophore stripe, and to generate hypotheses about the functions of leopard. We conclude that our rule-set is sufficient to recapitulate wild-type and mutant patterns. Our work now leads the way for further in silico exploration of the developmental and evolutionary implications of this pigment patterning system.
|Publication status||Acceptance date - 22 Jun 2020|