In 1952, Turing [1] discovered that spatial concentration patterns can be generated by auto- and cross-catalytic interactions of two substances with different diffusion rates. His mathematical demonstration was based on a Fourier analysis of instabilities of uniform distributions. He exemplified the mechanism envisaged by the following set of equations (Turing, 1952, p.42 [PDF] ).

The mechanism proposed by Turing`s equations given above have an essential drawback in that they are not reasonable in molecular terms: The number of

Although Turing did not refer to mechanisms corresponding to lateral inhibition in his paper, in unpublished notes found after his death there are sentences alluding to inhibitory processes: "The amplitude of the waves is largely controlled by the concentration V of 'poison'..... " [2].

Gierer, A. (1981) Generation of biological patterns and form: Some physical, mathematical, and logical aspects. Progr. Biophys. molec. Biol. 37, 1-47 [ PDF ].

Gierer, A (1988). Biological Pattern Formation and Physico-Chemical Laws. In: Synergetic and Dynamic Instabilities [ PDF ]

- Turing, A. (1952). The chemical basis of morphogenesis. Phil. Trans. B. 237, 37-72 [available from the web]
- Hodges, A. (1983) Alan Turing: the enigma. Simon and Schuster, New York; quotation is on page 494.