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Patterning of the vertebrate skin through mechanical and Turing instabilities

color pattern of the ocellated lizard. © INRA, M. Milinkovitch
Updated on 05/03/2018
Published on 04/27/2018

Thursday, June 21 from 13h30 to16h30

Amphithéâtre building 440

Centre INRA IdF Jouy-en-Josas


We investigate multiple non-classical model species, mainly reptiles and ‘exotic’ mammals, that can inform us on yet unknown biological and physical processes generating this complex and diverse living world. Central to our reasoning is that a proper understanding of morphogenesis cannot be achieved without integrating the physical constrains acting on the developmental and Darwinian processes. More specifically, we investigate the interactions between physical (mechanics, reaction-diffusion, photonics) and biological (cell signalling, proliferation) mechanisms that generate and constrain the variety and complexity of skin appendages (scales, hairs, spines), skin colours (pigmentary and structural), and skin colour patterns in tetrapods (four-limbed vertebrates). Our research requires integrating data and methods from comparative genomics, molecular developmental genetics, as well as physical experiments, mathematical modelling and numerical simulations. Here, I will discuss some of our recent research in reptiles underlying the importance of mechanical and Turing instabilities in the patterning of scales and scale colours.
A Living Mesoscopic Cellular Automaton Made of Skin Scales  
Manukyan L., Montandon S.A., Fofonjka A., Smirnov S., M.C. Milinkovitch
Nature 544, 7649 : 173–179 (2017)
The Anatomical Placode in Reptile Scale Morphogenesis Indicates Shared Ancestry 
Among Skin Appendages in Amniotes
Di-Poï N., M. C. Milinkovitch
Science Advances 2, 6 : e1600708 (2016)
Reptilian Transcriptomes v2.0: An Extensive Resource for Sauropsida Genomics and Transcriptomics
Tzika A.C., Ullate-Agote A., Grbic D., M. C. Milinkovitch
Genome Biology Evolution 7, 6 : 1827-1841 (2015)
R2OBBIE-3D, a Fast Robotic High-Resolution System for Quantitative Phenotyping of Surface Geometry and Colour-Texture
Martins A., Bessant M., Manukyan L., M.C. Milinkovitch
PLOS ONE 10, 6 : e0126740 (2015)
Photonic Crystals Cause Active Colour Change in Chameleons

Teyssier J., Saenko S.V., van der Marel D., M.C. Milinkovitch
Nature Communications 6, 6368 (2015)
Precise colocalization of interacting structural and pigmentary elements generates extensive color pattern variation in Phelsuma lizards
Saenko S., Teyssier J., van der Marel D. & M. C. Milinkovitch
BMC Biology 105, 11 (2013)
Crocodile Head Scales Are Not Developmental Units But Emerge from Physical Cracking
Milinkovitch M.C., Manukyan L., Debry A., Di-Poï N., Martin S., Singh D., Lambert D., Zwicker M.

Science 339, 6115 : 78-81 (2013)

Invited by Hélène Jammes, PhD,
INRA, UMR 1198
MECP2, Epigenetic Mechanisms for the Construction/Prediction of Phenotypes