Cellular automata and integrodifferential equation models for cell renewal in mosaic tissues

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Colleges, School and Institutes


Mosaic tissues are composed of two or more genetically distinct cell types. They occur naturally, and are also a useful experimental method for exploring tissue growth and maintenance. By marking the different cell types, one can study the patterns formed by proliferation, renewal and migration. Here, we present mathematical modelling suggesting that small changes in the type of interaction that cells have with their local cellular environment can lead to very different outcomes for the composition of mosaics. In cell renewal, proliferation of each cell type may depend linearly or nonlinearly on the local proportion of cells of that type, and these two possibilities produce very different patterns. We study two variations of a cellular automaton model based on simple rules for renewal. We then propose an integro-differential equation model, and again consider two different forms of cellular interaction. The results of the continuous and cellular automata models are qualitatively the same, and we observe that changes in local environment interaction affect the dynamics for both. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the models reproduce some of the patterns seen in actual mosaic tissues. In particular, our results suggest that the differing patterns seen in organ parenchymas may be driven purely by the process of cell replacement under different interaction scenarios.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1525-1535
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of The Royal Society Interface
Issue number52
Early online date7 Apr 2010
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2010


  • chimera, chimaera, Blaschko lines, cellular automata, voter model, organ parenchyma