News from CRG
In a paper published today in Science, researchers from the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), show that BMP and WNT proteins are the so-called “Turing molecules” for creating embryonic fingers. This confirms a fundamental theory first proposed by the founding father of computer science, Alan Turing, back in 1952.
BMPs and WNTs interact in a self-organising process, producing a repetitive pattern of gene expression that determines which cells should become fingers. This explains why polydactyly – the development of extra fingers or toes – is relatively common in humans, affecting up to 1 in 500 births.
The work was done by the Multicellular Systems Biology lab at the CRG, led by ICREA Research Professor James Sharpe.
J. Raspopovic; L. Marcon; L. Russo; J. Sharpe. Digit patterning is controlled by a Bmp-Sox9-Wnt Turing network modulated by morphogen gradients. Science, 2014. DOI: 10.1126/science.1252960