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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, 00:00 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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