Mathknow pp 201-213 | Cite as

Little Tom Thumb among cells: seeking the cues of life

  • Giacomo Aletti
  • Paola Causin
  • Giovanni Naldi
  • Matteo Semplice
Part of the MS&A book series (MS&A, volume 3)


For a living being or a cell in a developing body, recognizing its peers and locating food sources or other targets and moving towards them is of paramount importance. In most cases this is achieved by detecting the presence of chemical substances in the environment and moving towards the areas of their higher concentration, a process known as chemotaxis. Despite its fundamental role for life, this phenomenon is not yet fully understood in all its details and mathematical models are proving very useful in guiding biological research. We address here two examples of chemotaxis occurring in the developing embryo: early formation of the vascular plexus and axon navigation in the wiring of the nervous system.


Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Growth Cone Axon Guidance Autocrine Loop Motor Actuator 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia, Milan 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giacomo Aletti
    • 1
  • Paola Causin
    • 1
  • Giovanni Naldi
    • 1
  • Matteo Semplice
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Matematica „F. Enriques“Università degli Studi di MilanoMilanoItaly

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