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Positional information and reaction-diffusion: two big ideas in developmental biology combine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Jeremy B. A. Green, James Sharpe

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1203-1211
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge): for advances in developmental biology and stem cells
Issue number7
Early online date6 Jan 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Jan 2016


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One of the most fundamental questions in biology is that of biological pattern: how do the structures and shapes of organisms arise? Undoubtedly, the two most influential ideas in this area are those of Alan Turing's 'reaction-diffusion' and Lewis Wolpert's 'positional information'. Much has been written about these two concepts but some confusion still remains, in particular about the relationship between them. Here, we address this relationship and propose a scheme of three distinct ways in which these two ideas work together to shape biological form.

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