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A universal route to pattern formation in multicellular systems


A general framework for the generation of long wavelength patterns in multi-cellular (discrete) systems is proposed, which extends beyond conventional reaction-diffusion (continuum) paradigms. The standard partial differential equations of reaction-diffusion framework can be considered as a mean-field like ansatz which corresponds, in the biological setting, to sending to zero the size (or volume) of each individual cell. By relaxing this approximation and, provided a directionality in the flux is allowed for, we demonstrate here that instability leading to spatial pattern formation can always develop if the (discrete) system is large enough, namely, composed of sufficiently many cells, the units of spatial patchiness. The macroscopic patterns that follow the onset of the instability are robust and show oscillatory or steady state behavior.

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Correspondence to Malbor Asllani.

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Asllani, M., Carletti, T., Fanelli, D. et al. A universal route to pattern formation in multicellular systems. Eur. Phys. J. B 93, 135 (2020).

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  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics