Visiting Speaker: Carlos Espinosa

Place: Room 621, GP South (Building 78)

Time: Thursday 7th Sept, 10:30 morning Tea, 11:00am seminar


Speaker: Carlos Espinosa, UNAM in Mexico


The ABC model of floral organ cell-fate determination provides a logical framework to study the developmental decisions involved in floral patterning. However, the vast amount of data on interactions among ABC and non-ABC genes affecting this process demands the use of computational tools to integrate and study the behaviour of such a complex developmental system. In this work we provide the results of our attempts to do so. We have built discrete gene network models, in which interactions are implemented as logical rules, firmly sustained on experimental evidence. By analyzing this system we found that the only possible gene activity steady states correspond to gene activity patterns characteristic of sepals, petals, stamens, carpels and inflorescence meristems, supporting that these developmental fates are completely canalized. Furthermore we found that the behaviour of the floral organ cell-fate determination gene network is robust to changes in the interaction rules. The lack of sensibility to this alterations might underlie the apparent conservation of the mechanisms responsible for floral organ cell-fate determination. Using linear interpolation we developed continuous models that enable studying the behaviour of this network in a temporal framework. The simulation's results coincide with the reported sequence of ABC gene upregulation, further suggesting that this trait could be a consequence of the gene network dynamics.


Carlos Espinosa is a biologist from UNAM in Mexico, where he is working towards his PhD with Elena Alvarez-Buylla.

His central interest is in using computational techniques to study plant development.

World-class basic and applied inter-disciplinary research on questions fundamental to understanding, designing and managing complex systems
2009 The ARC Centre for Complex Systems, Australia