It has been postulated that fibroblast growth factor (FGF) treatment of cultured limb bud mesenchyme cells reinforces the lateral inhibitory effect, but the cells also show accelerated pattern appearance. In the present study, we analyze how a small change in a specific parameter affects the speed of pattern appearance in a Turing reaction-diffusion system using linear stability analysis. It is shown that the sign of the change in appearance speed is qualitatively decided if the system is under the diffusion-driven instability condition, and this is confirmed by numerical simulations. Numerical simulations also show that a small change in parameter value induced easily detectable differences in the appearance speed of patterns. Analysis of the Gierer-Meinhardt model revealed that a change in a single parameter can explain two effects of FGF on limb mesenchyme cells—reinforcement of lateral inhibition and earlier appearance of pattern. These qualitative properties and easy detectability make this feature a promising tool to elucidate the underlying mechanisms of biological pattern formationwhere the quantitative parameters are difficult to obtain
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