Developmental motifs reveal complex structure in cell lineages

Geard, Nicholas, Bullock, Seth, Lohaus, Rolf, Azevedo, Ricardo B.R. and Wiles, Janet (2011) Developmental motifs reveal complex structure in cell lineages. Complexity, 16, (4), 48-57. (doi:10.1002/cplx.20341).


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Many natural and technological systems are complex, with organisational structures that exhibit characteristic patterns, but defy concise description. One effective approach to analysing such systems is in terms of repeated topological motifs. Here, we extend the motif concept to characterise the dynamic behaviour of complex systems by introducing developmental motifs, which capture patterns of system growth. As a proof of concept, we use developmental motifs to analyse the developmental cell lineage of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, revealing a new perspective on its complex structure. We use a family of computational models to explore how biases arising from the dynamics of the developmental gene network, as well as spatial and temporal constraints acting on development, contribute to this complex organisation.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1002/cplx.20341
ISSNs: 1076-2787 (print)
1099-0526 (electronic)
Keywords: cell lineages, development, gene regulatory networks, generative bias, motifs
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions : Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering > Electronics and Computer Science > Agents, Interactions & Complexity
ePrint ID: 271194
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
March 2011Published
17 August 2010Made publicly available
Date Deposited: 27 May 2010 17:34
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 14:18
Amorphous computation, random graphs and complex biological networks
Funded by: EPSRC (EP/D00232X/1)
1 January 2006 to 30 September 2010
Further Information:Google Scholar

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