Speed of reaction diffusion in embryogenesis.
Page KM., Monk NAM., Maini PK.
Reaction diffusion systems have been proposed as mechanisms for patterning during many stages of embryonic development. While much attention has been focused on the study of the steady state patterns formed and the robustness of pattern selection, much less is known about the time scales required for pattern formation. Studies of gradient formation by the diffusion of a single morphogen from a localized source have shown that patterning can occur on realistic time scales over distances of a millimeter or less. Reaction diffusion has the potential to give rise to patterns on a faster time scale, since all points in the domain can act as sources of morphogen. However, the speed at which patterning can occur has hitherto not been explored in depth. In this paper, we investigate this issue in specific reaction diffusion models and address the question of whether patterning via reaction diffusion is fast enough to be applicable to morphogenesis.