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Pigment pas de deux puts stripes on zebrafish

Researchers watch yellow and black cells dance into patterns on fish fins

COLOR DANCE  Zebrafish owe their stripes to the coordinated movement of at least two types of pigment-producing cells.

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Scientists have long puzzled over how animals’ stripes, spots, dots, blazes and other color patterns arise. One of the most popular theories was proposed in 1952 by British mathematician Alan Turing, who showed that two chemicals spreading across a surface could spontaneously react to create patterns. By varying how chemicals diffuse and react under different conditions, Turing could reproduce many patterns seen in nature (SN: 7/17/10, p. 28).

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