Hypergraphs Demonstrate Anastomoses During Divergent Integration
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Complex networks can be used to analyze structures and systems in the embryo. Not only can we characterize growth and the emergence of form, but also differentiation. The process of differentiation from precursor cell populations to distinct functional tissues is of particular interest. These phenomena can be captured using a hypergraph consisting of nodes represented by cell type categories and arranged as a directed cyclic graph. As a hypergraph, this directed cyclic graph is an n-ary tree, which can model two or more descendent categories per division event. A hypothetical lineage tree, based on the mosaic development of the nematode C. elegans (2-ary tree), is used to capture this process. Each round of divisions produces a new set of categories that allow for exchange of cells between types. This model allows for new structures to emerge (such as a connectome) while also demonstrating how precursor categories are maintained for purposes such as dedifferentiation or other forms of cell fate plasticity. To understand this process of divergent integration, we analyze the directed hypergraph and categorical models, in addition to considering the role of network fistulas (spaces that conjoin two functional modules) and spatial restriction.