Nonlinear growth dynamics and the origin of fluctuating asymmetry

By: , and 



The nonlinear, complex nature of biosynthesis magnifies the impacts of small, random perturbations on organism growth, leading to distortions in adaptive allometries and, in particular, to fluctuating asymmetry. These distortions can be partly checked by cell-cell and inter-body part feedback during growth and development, though the latter mechanism also may lead to complex patterns in right-left asymmetry. Stress can be expected to increase the degree to which random growth perturbations are magnified and may also result in disruption of the check mechanisms, thus exaggerating fluctuating asymmetry.

The processes described not only provide one explanation for the existence of fluctuating asymmetry and its augmentation under stress, but suggest additional effects of stress as well. Specifically, stress is predicted to lead to decreased fractal dimension of bone sutures and branching structures in animals, and in increased dimension of growth trace patterns such as those found in mollusc shells and fish otoliths and scales.

A basic yet broad primer on fractals and chaos is provided as background for the theoretical development in this manuscript.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Nonlinear growth dynamics and the origin of fluctuating asymmetry
Series title Genetica
DOI 10.1007/BF02424507
Volume 89
Year Published 1993
Language English
Publisher Kluwer Academic Publishers
Contributing office(s) Western Fisheries Research Center
Description 20 p.
First page 77
Last page 96
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