How domain growth is implemented determines the long-term behavior of a cell population through its effect on spatial correlations

Robert J H Ross, Ruth E Baker, Christian E Yates

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Domain growth plays an important role in many biological systems, and so the inclusion of domain growth in models of these biological systems is important to understanding how these biological systems function. In this work we present methods to include the effects of domain growth on the evolution of spatial correlations in a continuum approximation of a lattice-based model of cell motility and proliferation. We show that, depending on the way in which domain growth is implemented, different steady-state densities are predicted for an agent population. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the way in which domain growth is implemented can result in the evolution of the agent density depending on the size of the domain. Continuum approximations that ignore spatial correlations cannot capture these behaviours, while those that account for spatial correlations do. These results will be of interest to researchers in developmental biology, as they suggest that the nature of domain growth can determine the characteristics of cell populations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number012408
Number of pages19
JournalPhysical Review E (PRE)
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jul 2016


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