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A densitometrical method for the study of pattern formation in a ciliateChilodonella

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An easy and sensitive method is reported here for testing the similarities of individual patterns by photographically transforming maps of these patterns to given, deductively chosen conventions involving constant distances between selected reference points. A cumulative map is produced by loading all landmarks from a set of individual maps on to one sheet of paper. The use of various a priori conventions results in variable cumulative maps, which are then optically transformed on an analog digital converter, with additional input for optical picture processing. The densitometrical maps thus obtained may be compared as to the cumulative degree of areas of maximal and minimal density of landmarks. The best conventions are those that yield the map with the most contrast.

Maps of spatial patterns of the sites of contractile vacuole pore (CVP) primordia in an early stage of divisional morphogenesis of the ciliateChilodonella steini were compared after four different transformations and adjustments of the same set of individual maps. The best focusing of the sites of CVP differentiation was achieved by use of the postoral axis, defined by the center of the oral apparatus and the posterior end of the cell as the scaling parameter. The composite “domain map” obtained by optical transformation of this cumulative map could distinguish the specific CVP territories observed in earlier work (Kaczanowska 1981). These results confirm earlier findings that indicated the site of the oral apparatus is an important reference point in CVP primordia positioning. They also strongly suggest the existence of an overriding “scaling factor” governing the positioning of sites of differentiation in both dimensions of the developmental field. The method of superposition and scaling of pattern maps is generally applicable to situations in which pattern elements appear at discrete points on a flat surface.

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Kaczanowska, J., Wychowaniec, L. & Ostrowski, M. A densitometrical method for the study of pattern formation in a ciliateChilodonella . Wilhelm Roux' Archiv 191, 325–330 (1982). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00848492

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Key words

  • Pattern formation
  • Ciliate morphogenesis
  • Positioning of contractile vacuole pores