University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Computational and Systems Biology Seminar Series 2022 - 23 > Does computational biology explain Fibonacci numbers in plants?

Does computational biology explain Fibonacci numbers in plants?

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The appearance of Fibonacci numbers in plant spirals is one of the most famous of all the mathematical structures in the natural world, while the genes involved in plant pattern development (phyllotaxis) are increasingly well characterised. Since there are no genes coding for Fibonacci numbers, proponents of systems biology might well hope this is an ideal setting in which to demonstrate the power of a combination of computational modelling and molecular detail. Yet although there is now a standard and mathematically satisfying argument for why Fibonacci structure might be seen in models of plant development, there remain a number of outstanding questions, both mathematical and biological, which need to be convincingly answered before the Fibonacci problem can take its place as a paradigm for mathematical modelling in molecular biology. Jonathan Swinton will show how to find Fibonacci numbers, outline the open questions in the field and introduce his new book Mathematical Phyllotaxis.

This talk is part of the Computational and Systems Biology Seminar Series 2022 - 23 series.

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