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In this article we will discuss the integration of developmental patterning mechanisms with waves of competency that control the ability of a homogeneous field of cells to react to pattern forming cues and generate spatially heterogeneous patterns. We base our discussion around two well known patterning events that take place in the early embryo: somitogenesis and feather bud formation. We outline mathematical models to describe each patterning mechanism, present the results of numerical simulations and discuss the validity of each model in relation to our example patterning processes.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Dev Biol

Publication Date





783 - 794


Animals, Body Patterning, Cell Proliferation, Chemotaxis, Developmental Biology, Diffusion, Feathers, Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental, Models, Biological, Models, Theoretical, Vertebrates