Precision and reproducibility of macroscopic developmental patterns

Laurent Abouchar, Mariela D. Petkova, Cynthia R. Steinhardt, and Thomas Gregor (2013). [q-bio.TO].

Developmental processes in multicellular organisms occur far from equilibrium, yet produce com- plex patterns with astonishing reproducibility. We measure the precision and reproducibility of bilaterally symmetric fly wings across the natural range of genetic and environmental conditions and find that wing patterns are specified with identical spatial precision and are reproducible to within a single cell width. The early fly embryo operates at a similar degree of reproducibility, suggesting that the overall spatial precision of morphogenesis in Drosophila performs at the single cell level, arguably the physical limit of what a biological system can achieve.

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