Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • News & Views
  • Published:

Developmental biology

Sharp peaks from shallow sources

The use of mathematical modelling to formulate and test theories is still quite rare in biology. It has now been applied to show how a robust, sharp peak of signalling molecules can be formed in developing fruitfly embryos.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: Model for generating a sharp gradient of bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) in fruitfly embryos, according to Eldar et al.3.


  1. Gurdon, J. B. & Bourillot, P.-Y Nature 413, 797–803 (2001).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Lander, A. D. et al. Dev. Cell 2, 785–796 (2002).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Eldar, A. et al. Nature 419, 304–308 (2002).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Srinivasan, S. et al. Dev. Cell 2, 91–101 (2002).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Ashe, H. L. & Levine, M. Nature 398, 427–431 (1999).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Decotto, E. & Ferguson, E. L. Development 128, 3831–3841(2001).

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Marques, G. et al. Cell 91, 417–426 (1997).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Ross, J. J. et al. Nature 410, 479–483 (2001).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Larraín, J. et al. Development 128, 4439–4447 (2001).

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  10. Dale, L. & Wardle, F. C. Semin. Cell Dev. Biol. 10, 319–326 (1999).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Arendt, D. & Nübler-Jung, K. Nature 371, 26 (1994).

  12. St Johnston, D. & Nüsslein-Volhard, C. Cell 68, 201–219 (1992).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Meinhardt, H. BioEssays 24, 185–191 (2002).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Jazwinska, A. et al. Development 126, 3323–3334 (1999).

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Meinhardt, H., Roth, S. Sharp peaks from shallow sources. Nature 419, 261–262 (2002).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing