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Unexpected role of noise in spine formation
Date:9/29/2011

sults in deviation of the system from the state of thermodynamic equilibrium, then chemical wavefronts start to propagate in the liquid. Their existence results in periodic colour changes of the solution. If the reaction takes place in a thin solution layer, e.g., in a Petri dish, one can observe permanently forming and propagating colour rings.

The model proposed by the scientists from the IPC PAS, CNRS and UPMC is exceptionally straightforward. It involves three chemical reactions and four substances including two ones forcing a non-equilibrium state in the system under study. The parameters of the model are adjusted so as to induce reactions leading to clear spatial oscillations of concentrations of the solution components. The result are periodic patterns, stable in time, so called Turing structures.

In nature, periodic structures in embryos are probably formed in a more complicated way, involving perhaps several dozens of reactions or even more. "Our model is a purely theoretical concept, a signal indicating that a part of the phenomena occurring during somitogenesis are controlled by truly simple mechanisms", stresses Nowakowski.

Having in hand a theoretical model describing the dynamics of a phenomenon observed in embryogenesis, the Polish-French team was able to verify the effect of internal noise on the described process. In nature, the noise is a consequence of the discrete, molecular structure of matter, an unavoidable, stochastic effect occurring in every physical system. In a theoretical model, noise can be introduced or suppressed at will. This also means that the theoreticians can do what the experimentalists cannot: to compare a naturally non-existing noiseless system with a noisy system and to assess the effect of thermodynamic fluctuations on the segmentation process.

"Usually, one assumes that an accidental noise disturbs the existing order. Our simulations gave an opposite result. After the noise has been i
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Contact: Dr. Bogdan Nowakowski
bnowakowski@ichf.edu.pl
48-223-433-191
Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences
Source:Eurekalert  

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