The theory proposed by Alan Turing explains the patterns of tooth-like scales found on sharks

Tooth-like scales of sharks and chicken feathers are created by the same process and explained by a theory of the legendary code-breaker Alan Turing.

His reaction-diffusion theory is generally accepted as the way many animals get unique patterns in their feathers, fur, teeth and teeth.

It has now been extended with the development of shark scales – a group of animals that are very closely related to the other known animals.

The findings help explain how the scales of a shark evolved to reduce resistance and to be more energy-efficient while swimming.

Scientists believe these patterns can help design shark-inspired materials to improve energy efficiency.

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Scientists studied the small-spotted canine head about 80 days after fertilization using RD modeling and gene expression analysis (photo). They discovered that the same core genes involved in feather patterns also support the development of shark scales

Alan Turing developed the brilliant reaction-diffusion system in 1952, just two years before his tragic death.

Previously, he was famously involved in cracking the Enigma code used by the Germans during the Second World War.

His comparisons describe how molecular signals can interact to form complex patterns in a variety of different systems.

In the paper, published in the journal Science Advances, researchers compared the patterning of shark scales with that of chicken feathers.

Dr. Gareth Fraser, now at the University of Florida, said: "We started looking at chicks and how they developed their feathers.

We found these very beautiful lines of gene expression that pattern where these spots appear that eventually grow into feathers.

We thought that the shark is doing something similar and we found two rows on the dorsal surface that start the whole process. & # 39;

They discovered that the same core genes involved in feather patterns also support the development of shark scales.

Researchers know that these common genetic signals may be involved in the pattern formation of different epithelial appendages & # 39 ;.

These include spines, teeth, hair, fur, scales and feathers and have probably contributed to this process for at least 450 million years – the entire history of vertebrates.

From the scales of a snake to the feathers of a flamingo, modern vertebrates exhibit a series of epithelial appendages.

These structures all have a similar developmental position with respect to each other because they grow from a common place in the skin cells, the so-called epithelial placode.

Although evidence has been found in many animals, the theory has never been proven for distant vertebrates that had long since departed from the same ancestral lineage.

Finding evidence of the same mechanism in species remotely related to sharks and chickens provides evidence that it is an integral part of many groups of animals and that it is genetically coded in all vertebrate ancestors.

Scientists studied the small-spotted dog about 80 days after fertilization using RD modeling and gene expression analysis.

This is a CT scan of a catshark embryo 90 days after it has been fertilized. Toothy scales of sharks and chicken feathers are created by the same process and explained by the legendary code-breaker Alan Turing's theory of reaction diffusion


Alan Turing (photo) was a British mathematician who was known for his work that crippled the enigma code in the Second World War.

Alan Turing was a British mathematician born on June 23, 1912.

During the Second World War, the mathematician played a crucial role in cracking the German Enigma codes, which provided the Allied leaders with essential information about the movements and intentions of Hitler's troops.

Historians appreciate the work of Turing and its co-code breakers at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire with the shortening of the war by up to two years, saving countless lives.

Turing is also widely regarded as the father of computer science and artificial intelligence.

In 1952 he was convicted for homosexual activities, which was unlawful at the time.

To prevent prison, Turing agreed with chemical castration & # 39; a hormonal treatment to reduce libido.

In 1954, at the age of 41, he died of cyanide poisoning. A court of law issued a suicide verdict, although his mother and others claimed that his death was accidental.

In addition to physical and emotional damage, his conviction led to the removal of his security clearance and meant he was no longer able to work for GCHQ, the successor to the Government Code and Cypher School, based in Bletchley Park.

He received posthumously a royal pardon in 2014, only the fourth that was issued since the end of the Second World War.

It was requested by the Minister of Justice, Chris Grayling, who described Turing as a national hero who was not in accordance with the law because of his sexuality.

This showed that dorsal dentistry rows acted as initiator rows, thereby patterning the surrounding toothy skin.

In comparison with β-catenin (β-cat), an early regulator of chick epithelial placodesignaling, they saw an agreement between the two animals.

The same model was then applied to two other fish: the thorn skate and the small skate.

It is believed that this has provided the development of the evolutionary advantageous drag reduction and armor.

Dr. Fraser added: "Together with a mathematician, we invented what the pattern is and whether we can model it.

We discovered that the shark skin dentines were formed by a series of equations that Alan Turing – the mathematician, computer scientist and code breaker – came up with.

& # 39; These comparisons describe how certain chemicals interact with each other during the development of animals and we have discovered that these equations explain the patterns of these units. & # 39;

The researchers also showed how adjusting the inputs of the Turing system can create a wide range of scale patterns.

They believe that the natural variation in this system can explain the scales in shark and ray species that live today.

Rory Cooper, a PhD student at Sheffield University, said: "Sharks belong to an old vertebrate group, long separated from most other jawed vertebrates.

& # 39; By studying their development, we get an idea of ​​how skin structures may have looked early in the evolution of vertebrates.

We wanted to learn about the development processes that determine how these different structures are formed, and thus the processes that make their different functions possible. & # 39;

This scanning electron microscopy image of the scales of a catfish hatchling. The findings of the study help explain how the scales of a shark evolved to reduce resistance and to be more energy-efficient while swimming

Scientists used a combination of techniques, including reaction diffusion modeling, to make a simulation based on Turing & # 39; s equations.

Cooper added: "Scientists and engineers have been trying for years to make shark-cloth-inspired materials to reduce resistance and increase efficiency during motoring, of both people and vehicles.

& # 39; Our findings help us understand how shark scales are patterned, which is essential to enable their function in resistance reduction.

& # 39; Therefore, this research helps us to understand how these reducing properties occurred for the first time in sharks and how they change between different species. & # 39;

He said that pattern formation is an important aspect that contributes to achieving resistance loss in certain shark species. Another is the form of individual scales.

The researchers now want to investigate the development processes that underlie the variation in form both within and between different shark species.

Cooper added: "Understanding how both factors contribute to reducing resistance will hopefully lead to the production of improved, widely applicable, shark-inspired materials that can reduce drag and save energy." 39;