Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The formation of the primitive streak in early avian development marks the onset of gastrulation, during which large scale cell movement leads to a trilaminar blastoderm comprising prospective endodermal, mesodermal and ectodermal tissue. During streak formation a specialized group of cells first moves anteriorly as a coherent column, beginning from the posterior end of the prospective anterior-posterior axis (a process called progression), and then reverses course and returns to the most posterior point on the axis (a process called regression). To date little is known concerning the mechanisms controlling either progression or regression. Here we develop a model in which chemotaxis directs the cell movement and which is capable of reproducing the principal features connected with progression and regression of the primitive streak. We show that this model exhibits a number of experimentally-observed features of normal and abnormal streak development, and we propose a number of experimental tests which may serve to illuminate the mechanisms. This paper represents the first attempt to model the global features of primitive streak formation, and provides an initial stage in the development of a more biologically-realistic discrete cell model that will allow for variation of properties between cells and control over movement of individual cells.

Original publication




Journal article


Bull Math Biol

Publication Date





501 - 525


Animals, Chemotaxis, Chick Embryo, Computer Simulation, Gastrula, Models, Biological