Distinguished Lecture Series : Scaling in Development
School of Physics and Center for Quantitative Biology
Date: 8 June 2021
Time: 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Venue: Online via Zoom ( Meeting ID: 978 4106 5623)
Relevant documents: PowerPoint Slides
Within a given species, fluctuations in egg or embryo size is unavoidable. Despite this, the gene expression pattern and hence the embryonic structure often scale in proportion with the body length. This scaling phenomenon is very common in development and regeneration, and has long fascinated scientists. I will first discuss a generic theoretical framework to show how scaling gene expression pattern can emerge from non-scaling morphogen gradients. I will then demonstrate that the Drosophila gap gene system achieves scaling in a way that is entirely consistent with our theory. Remarkably, a parameter-free model based on the theory quantitatively accounts for the gap gene expression pattern in nearly all morphogen mutants. Furthermore, the regulation logic and the coding/decoding strategy of the gap gene system can be revealed. Our work provides a general theoretical framework on a large class of problems where scaling output is induced by non-scaling input, as well as a unified understanding of scaling, mutants’ behavior and regulation in the Drosophila gap gene and related systems.