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Modern perspectives on near-equilibrium analysis of Turing systems

Krause, Andrew L. and Gaffney, Eamonn A. and Maini, Philip K. and Klika, Václav (2021) 'Modern perspectives on near-equilibrium analysis of Turing systems.', Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 379 (2213). p. 20200268.


In the nearly seven decades since the publication of Alan Turing’s work on morphogenesis, enormous progress has been made in understanding both the mathematical and biological aspects of his proposed reaction–diffusion theory. Some of these developments were nascent in Turing’s paper, and others have been due to new insights from modern mathematical techniques, advances in numerical simulations and extensive biological experiments. Despite such progress, there are still important gaps between theory and experiment, with many examples of biological patterning where the underlying mechanisms are still unclear. Here, we review modern developments in the mathematical theory pioneered by Turing, showing how his approach has been generalized to a range of settings beyond the classical two-species reaction–diffusion framework, including evolving and complex manifolds, systems heterogeneous in space and time, and more general reaction-transport equations. While substantial progress has been made in understanding these more complicated models, there are many remaining challenges that we highlight throughout. We focus on the mathematical theory, and in particular linear stability analysis of ‘trivial’ base states. We emphasize important open questions in developing this theory further, and discuss obstacles in using these techniques to understand biological reality.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Date accepted:18 June 2021
Date deposited:22 June 2022
Date of first online publication:08 November 2021
Date first made open access:22 June 2022

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