A dot-stripe Turing model of joint patterning in the tetrapod limb

Jake Cornwall Scoones, Tom W Hiscock* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
943 Downloads (Pure)


Iterative joints are a hallmark of the tetrapod limb, and their positioning is a key step during limb development. Although the molecular regulation of joint formation is well studied, it remains unclear what controls the location, number and orientation (i.e. the pattern) of joints within each digit. Here, we propose the dot-stripe mechanism for joint patterning, comprising two coupled Turing systems inspired by published gene expression patterns. Our model can explain normal joint morphology in wild-type limbs, hyperphalangy in cetacean flippers, mutant phenotypes with misoriented joints and suggests a reinterpretation of the polydactylous Ichthyosaur fins as a polygonal joint lattice. By formulating a generic dot-stripe model, describing joint patterns rather than molecular joint markers, we demonstrate that the insights from the model should apply regardless of the biological specifics of the underlying mechanism, thus providing a unifying framework to interrogate joint patterning in the tetrapod limb.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberdev183699
Number of pages12
Issue number8
Early online date3 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2020


  • limb patterning
  • mathematical modelling
  • Turing patterns


Dive into the research topics of 'A dot-stripe Turing model of joint patterning in the tetrapod limb'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this