Sensory bristles organize with minimum communication: fruit flies
The sensory organ precursors (starting point of sensory bristles) of fruit flies organize themselves with minimal knowledge and communication.
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[A long-standing distributed computing problem is that of electing a local set of leaders, called the maximal independent set or MIS, in a network of connected processors.]
"The selection of neural precursor during the development of the [fruit fly] nervous system resembles the MIS election problem. The precursors of the fly's sensory bristles [sensory organ precursors (SOPs)] are selected during larvae and pupae development from clusters of equivalent cells…a cell that is selected as a SOP inhibits its neighbors by expressing high level of the membrane-bound protein Delta, which binds and activates the transmembrane receptor protein Notch on adjacent cells…This lateral-inhibition process is highly accurate…resulting in a regularly spaced pattern in which each cell is either selected as SOP or is inhibited by a neighboring SOP…Thus, as in the MIS problem every proneural cluster must elect a set of SOPs (A) so that every cell in the cluster is either in A or connected to a SOP in A, and no two SOPs in A are adjacent."
"Although similar, the biological solution differs from computational algorithms in at least two aspects. First, SOP selection is probably performed without relying on knowledge of the number of neighbors that are not yet selected. Second, mathematical analysis demonstrated that SOP selection requires nonlinear inhibition that in effect reduces communication to the simplest set of possible messages (binary)." (Yehuda et al. 2011:182-183)
Drosophila melanogaster Meigen, 1830
Some organism data provided by: BDWD: BioSystematic Database of World Diptera
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist
Application Ideas: Faster solutions to computational problems.
Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Network Engineering, wireless sensor networks and distributed computer systems(control systems), computational mathematicsDistributed computing solution - Distributed computing algorithm
Department of Molecular Genetics, Weizmann Institute of Science