Title: Modeling stripe and mutated skin pattern formation on zebrafish
Abstract: Wild-type zebrafish (Danio rerio) feature black and yellow stripes across their body and fins, but mutants display a range of altered patterns, including spots and labyrinth curves. All these patterns form due to the interactions of pigment cells, which sort out through movement, birth, competition, and transitions in cellular shape during early development. The diversity of patterns on zebrafish makes it a useful organism for helping elucidate how genes, cell behavior, and visible animal characteristics are related, and this is the motivation for my work. Using an agent-based approach to describe pigment cells, I couple deterministic cell migration by ODEs with stochastic rules for updating population size on growing domains. Our model suggests the unknown cellular signals behind newly observed cell behaviors and makes experimentally-testable predictions about how various Danio fish may be related evolutionarily. I will also discuss the associated non-local continuum limit of the agent-based model and highlight several future directions for this project.