Embryonic cleavage modeling as a computational approach to sphere packing problem

Luca Zammataro, Guido Serini, Todd Rowland, Federico Bussolino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Embryonic cleavage depends on the distribution in the cytosol of molecular signals that influence mitotic spindle positioning. By implementing the New Kind of Science (NKS) theory in which a simple rule can evolve with a complex overall behavior, here we propose a new theoretical approach that is capable of modeling the mechanisms of early embryonic cleavage dynamics in the ascidian Styela Partita. The model shows that the same spindle pole orientation rule governs the first five embryonic cleavages, which progressively allow the transition from one to thirty-two daughter cells. Finally, we present evidence of a strong similarity between Kepler's Sphere Packing Problem and embryonic cleavage, which thus represents a prominent example of natural computing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-82
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 7 2007


  • Embryonic cleavage
  • New Kind of Science
  • Sphere Packing
  • Substitution Systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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