Modelling the spatial patterning of teeth primordia in the alligator

Acta Biotheoretica 44 (2) (1996)
Abstract
We propose a model mechanism for the initiation and spatial positioning of teeth primordia in the alligator, Alligator mississippiensis. Detailed embryological studies by Westergaard and Ferguson (1986, 1987, 1990) have shown that jaw growth plays a crucial role in the developmental patterning of the tooth initiation process. Based on biological data we develop a dynamic patterning mechanism, which crucially includes domain growth. The mechanism can reproduce the spatial pattern development of the first seven teeth primordia in each half jaw of A. mississippiensis. The results for the precise spatio-temporal sequence compare well with experiment. Simulation of the model also predicts that certain transplantations can alter the spatial sequence of teeth primordia initiation.
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