Fly wing vein patterns have spatial reproducibility of a single cell

Laurent Abouchar, Mariela D. Petkova, Cynthia R. Steinhardt, Thomas Gregor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Developmental processes in multicellular organisms occur in fluctuating environments and are prone to noise, yet they produce complex patterns with astonishing reproducibility. We measure the left-right and inter-individual precision of bilaterally symmetric fly wings across the natural range of genetic and environmental conditions and find that wing vein patterns are specified with identical spatial precision and are reproducible to within a single-cell width. The early fly embryo operates at a similar degree of reproducibility, suggesting that the overall spatial precision ofmorphogenesis in Drosophila performs at the single-cell level. Could development be operating at the physical limit of what a biological system can achieve?

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20140443
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue number97
StatePublished - Aug 6 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials


  • Development
  • Drosophila
  • Fly wings
  • Pattern formation
  • Precision
  • Symmetry


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