Table of Contents
ISRN Computational Biology
Volume 2013, Article ID 756829, 14 pages
Research Article

A Reduced Drosophila Model Whose Characteristic Behavior Scales Up

School of Mathematics, University of Manchester, Alan Turing Building, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK

Received 24 July 2013; Accepted 18 September 2013

Academic Editors: Y. Cai, G. Colonna, and H. M. Xie

Copyright © 2013 Andrew David Irving. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Computational biology seeks to integrate experimental data with predictive mathematical models—testing hypotheses which result from the former through simulations of the latter. Such models should ideally be approachable and accessible to the widest possible community, motivating independent studies. One of the most commonly modeled biological systems involves a gene family critical to segmentation in Drosophila embryogenesis—the segment polarity network (SPN). In this paper, we reduce a celebrated mathematical model of the SPN to improve its accessibility; unlike its predecessor our reduction can be tested swiftly on a widely used platform. By reducing the original model we identify components which are unnecessary; that is, we begin to detect the core of the SPN—those mechanisms that are essentially responsible for its characteristic behavior. Hence characteristic behavior can scale up; we find that any solution of our model (defined as a set of conditions for which characteristic behavior is seen) can be converted into a solution of the original model. The original model is thus made more accessible for independent study through a more approachable reduction which maintains the robustness of its predecessor.