The system proposed by World War II Alan Turing more than 60 years ago can explain the pattern of dental sharks that sharks play, according to new research.
Scientists from the Department of Animal and Plant Science at the University of Sheffield found that Turing's Reaction Diffusion theory – widely accepted as a sampling method in mice and chicken feathers – is also true for scales on sharks.
The findings can explain how a shark flock pattern developed in order to reduce resistance during swimming, thereby saving energy while moving. Scientists believe that sampling could help build new materials inspired by sharks in order to improve energy efficiency and traffic.
Turing, the precursor of the computer, came with a reaction-diffusion system that was published in 1952, two years before his death. His equations describe how molecular signals can influence the formation of complex patterns.
In an article published today (November 7, 2018) in the magazine Science is progressing, the researchers compared sampling sharks with sharks on chicken feathers.
They found that the same core of the genes on which the feather pattern is based are also the basis for the development of shark flocks and suggest that these genes can be involved in sampling other different skin structures on vertebrates such as the spine and teeth.
Dr. Gareth Fraser, formerly the University of Sheffield and now at the University of Florida, said: "We started looking at chickens and developing their feathers. We found these very beautiful lines of expression of genes that show up, grow into feathers. We thought maybe the shark makes it similar and on the dorsal surface we found two species that are starting the whole process.
"We collected with mathematics to find out what the sample is and whether we can model it. We found that shark teeth are precisely sampled with a set of equations by Alan Turing – a mathematician, a computer scientist and code breaker – – came here .
"These equations describe how certain chemicals work during the development of animals, and found that these equations explain the sampling of these units."
The researchers also showed how the changing of the Turing system's input can lead to different scale patterns that are comparable to those seen today in shark and living creatures.
They suggest that the natural differences in the Turing system can allow for the development of various properties of these animals, including ensuring the reduction of traction and defense equipment.
Rory Cooper, PhD at the University of Sheffield, said: "Sharks belong to an ancient group of vertebrates, which is long separated from most of the other jawbone jaw. The research of their development gives us an idea of which skin structures may have looked early in the development of vertebrates .
"We wanted to learn about the development processes that control how these diverse structures are sampled and thus the procedures that facilitate their various functions."
Scientists used a combination of techniques, including modeling reaction diffusion, to create a simulation based on Thuringian equations to prove that its system can interpret sampling of the shark scale if the parameters are set correctly.
Mr Cooper added: "Scientists and engineers have been trying to create materials inspired by skin with skin for many years in order to reduce resistance and increase the effectiveness of people and vehicles.
"Our findings help us to understand how the flakes on the sole are sampled, which is crucial for enabling their function in reducing resistance.
Therefore, this study helps us to understand how these traction reduction properties originated first in sharks and how they are changing between different species. "
Patterning is one of the important aspects that contributes to achieving a reduction in traction for certain shark species. The second is a form of individual scales. Researchers now want to study developmental processes based on changing shape within and between different shark species.
I hope that understanding how these factors contribute to reducing dragging will lead to the production of improved, widely-used materials inspired by sharks that could reduce resistance and save energy, "added Mr Cooper.
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