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.
- Department of Biology & Biochemistry - Professor
- Centre for Networks and Collective Behaviour
- EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Statistical Applied Mathematics (SAMBa)
- Centre for Mathematical Biology
- Centre for Integrated Bioprocessing Research (CIBR)
Person: Research & Teaching