A Multiscale Agent-based Model of Morphogenesis in Biological Systems

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Andrea Omicini, Mirko Viroli (eds.)
WOA 2010 – Dagli oggetti agli agenti. Modelli e tecnologie per sistemi complessi: context-dependent, knowledge-intensive, nature-inspired e self-* , pages 23–29
CEUR Workshop Proceedings 621
Sun SITE Central Europe, RWTH Aachen University
September 2010

Studying the complex phenomenon of pattern formation created by the gene expression is a big challenge in the field of developmental biology. This spatial self-organisation autonomously emerges from the morphogenetic processes and the hierarchical organisation of biological systems seems to play a crucial role. Being able to reproduce the systems dynamics at different levels of such a hierarchy might be very useful. In this paper we propose the adoption of the agent-based model as an approach capable of capture multi-level dynamics. Each cell is modelled as an agent that absorbs and releases substances, divides, moves and autonomously regulates its gene expression.
As a case study we present an agent-based model  of Drosophila melanogaster  morphogenesis. We then propose a formalisation of the model which clearly describe its main components. We finally show simulation results demonstrating the capability of the model of reproducing the expression pattern of the embryo.

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page_white_powerpointA Multiscale Agent-based Model of Morphogenesis in Biological Systems (WOA 2010, 06/09/2010) — Alessandro Ricci (Alessandro Ricci, Andrea Omicini, Sara Montagna)

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