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Embryonic patterning of the avian skin : mathematical modelling of embryonic dynamics

Abstract : Since Alan Turing’s milestone paper ‘The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis” in 1952, a molecular revolution has taken place in biology and mathematicians have provided an increasing number of theoretical models that are able to generate many of the patterns observed in nature. This thesis aimed at unifying the extensive findings in both fields to propose theoretical frameworks and developmental schemes for the emergence of avian skin patterns, with a particular focus on dorsal plumage dynamics. I characterised the appearance of feather primordia in the dorsum of several bird species, namely chickens, quails, pheasants, zebra finches, emus and penguins. In the first four species, the patterning of the dorsal skin occurs in a highly reproducible manner: thin longitudinal domains of competence, marked by beta-catenin, trigger a wave of feather-forming rows that propagate laterally in a timely fashion, eventually forming feather tracts. In flightless emus and penguins, the process is much different: feathers first individualise within large competent domains, and later appear throughout the whole skin, in a quick and regular or irregular fashion. I then reproduced shared and varying attributes of these dynamics with a unified reaction-diffusion-chemotaxis model with logistic cell proliferation, which I used in a predictive way. It recapitulates all varying attributes of the patterning processes by tuning initial conditions, and predicts that cell proliferation controls the timing of the patterning process. Our framework opens up evolutionary perspectives, and the origins of pattern attributes such as regularity and directionality are discussed.
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Submitted on : Thursday, September 10, 2020 - 5:19:13 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - 3:58:24 AM


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  • HAL Id : tel-02935882, version 1


Richard Bailleul. Embryonic patterning of the avian skin : mathematical modelling of embryonic dynamics. Development Biology. Sorbonne Université, 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019SORUS022⟩. ⟨tel-02935882⟩



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