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Promoting Convergence: The Phi Spiral in Abduction of Mouse Corneal Behaviors

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journal contribution
posted on 30.01.2017 by J. Rhee, T.M. Nejad, O. Comets, S. Flannery, E.B. Gulsoy, P. Iannaccone, C. Foster
Why do mouse corneal epithelial cells display spiraling patterns? We want to provide an explanation for this curi-ous phenomenon by applying an ide alized pro blem so lving process. S pecifically, we applied co mplementary line-fitting methods to measure transgenic epithelial reporter expression arrangements displayed on three mature, liveenucleated globes to clarify the problem. Two prominent logarithmic curves were discovered, one of which displayedthe / ratio, an indicator of an optimal configuration in phyllotactic systems. We then utilized two different compu-ta tional appro aches to expose our current understanding ofthebehavior.Inoneprocedure,whichinvolvedaniso-tropic mechanics-based finite element method, we successfully produced logarithmic spiral curves of maximumshear strain based pathlines but computed dimensions displayed pitch angles of 35(/ spiral is 17), which wasaltered when we fitted the model with published measurements of coarse collagen orientations. We then usedmodel-based r easoning in context of Peircean abduction to select a wor king hypothesis. Our wor k serves as a conciseexample of applying a scientific habit of mind and illustrates nuances of ex ecuting a common method to doin gintegrative science.VC2014 Wiley P erio dicals, Inc. Complexity 20: 22– 38, 2015


The research was supported by NIH 1R21EY020946-01 (JR, PMI, CF), NINDS NS054850 (subcontract, PMI)and the George M. Eisenberg Foundation for Charities(PMI).


Publisher Statement

This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: Rhee, J., Nejad, T. M., Comets,O., Flannery, S., Gulsoy, E. B., Iannaccone, P. and Foster, C. Promoting Convergence: The Phi Spiral in Abduction of Mouse Corneal Behaviors. Complexity. 2015. 20(3): 22-38. DOI: 10.1002/cplx.21562., which has been published in final form at


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