The iconic stripes of zebrafish are a classic example of natural self-organization. As zebrafish embryos develop, three types of pigment cells move around the skin, eventually jostling into positions that form body-length yellow and blue stripes. Scientists want to understand the genetic rules that direct this delicate dance, and a new algorithm developed by Brown University mathematicians, including doctoral student Melissa McGuirl, could help them accomplish that. The algorithm, described in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is able to quantify various attributes of shapes and patterns, enabling scientists to more objectively test ideas about how zebrafish stripes — and potentially other developmental patterns — are formed. Read more.
March 11, 2020