Author

# George Oster

Other affiliations: Los Alamos National Laboratory, University of New Mexico, Harvard University ...read more

Bio: George Oster is an academic researcher from University of California, Berkeley. The author has contributed to research in topics: Molecular motor & Brownian ratchet. The author has an hindex of 75, co-authored 209 publications receiving 23970 citations. Previous affiliations of George Oster include Los Alamos National Laboratory & University of New Mexico.

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01 Jan 1978

TL;DR: Oster and Wilson as discussed by the authors provided the first fully developed theory of caste evolution among the social insects and studied the effects of natural selection in generally increasing the insects' ergonomic efficiency.

Abstract: In this pathbreaking and far-reaching work George Oster and Edward Wilson provide the first fully developed theory of caste evolution among the social insects. Furthermore, in studying the effects of natural selection in generally increasing the insects' ergonomic efficiency, they go beyond the concentration of previous researchers on the physiological mechanisms of the insects and turn our attention instead to the scale and efficiency of the insects' division of labor.Recognizing that the efficiency of the insect colony is based on a complex fitting of the division of labor to many simultaneous needs, including those imposed by the distribution of resources and enemies around the nest, Professors Oster and Wilson are able to construct a series of mathematical models to characterize the agents of natural selection that promote particular caste systems.The social insects play a key role in the subject of sociobiology because their social organization is so rigid and can be related to genetic evolution. Because of this important consideration, the authors' work has consequences not only for entomology but also for general evolutionary theory.

1,850 citations

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TL;DR: In this pathbreaking and far-reaching work George Oster and Edward Wilson provide the first fully developed theory of caste evolution among the social insects and construct a series of mathematical models to characterize the agents of natural selection that promote particular caste systems.

Abstract: In this pathbreaking and far-reaching work George Oster and Edward Wilson provide the first fully developed theory of caste evolution among the social insects. Furthermore, in studying the effects of natural selection in generally increasing the insects' ergonomic efficiency, they go beyond the concentration of previous researchers on the physiological mechanisms of the insects and turn our attention instead to the scale and efficiency of the insects' division of labor.Recognizing that the efficiency of the insect colony is based on a complex fitting of the division of labor to many simultaneous needs, including those imposed by the distribution of resources and enemies around the nest, Professors Oster and Wilson are able to construct a series of mathematical models to characterize the agents of natural selection that promote particular caste systems.The social insects play a key role in the subject of sociobiology because their social organization is so rigid and can be related to genetic evolution. Because of this important consideration, the authors' work has consequences not only for entomology but also for general evolutionary theory.

1,631 citations

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TL;DR: A quantitative method for describing how heterochronic changes in ontogeny relate to phyletic trends is presented, and a greatly simplified and logical scheme of classification is obtained that will be particularly useful in studying the data of paleontology and comparative morphology.

Abstract: We present a quantitative method for describing how heterochronic changes in ontogeny relate to phyletic trends. This is a step towards creating a unified view of developmental biology and evolu- tionary ecology in the study of morphological evolution. Using this representation, we obtain a greatly simplified and logical scheme of classification. We believe that this scheme will be particularly useful in studying the data of paleontology and comparative morphology and in the analysis of processes leading to adaptive radiation. We illustrate this scheme by examples drawn from the literature and our own work.

1,428 citations

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TL;DR: It is shown that as a hump steepens, the dynamics goes from a stable point, to a bifurcating hierarchy of stable cycles of period 2n, into a region of chaotic behavior where the population exhibits an apparently random sequence of "outbreaks" followed by "crashes".

Abstract: Many biological populations breed seasonally and have nonoverlapping generations, so that their dynamics are described by first-order difference equations, Nt+1 = F (Nt). In many cases, F(N) as a function of N will have a hump. We show, very generally, that as such a hump steepens, the dynamics goes from a stable point, to a bifurcating hierarchy of stable cycles of period 2n, into a region of chaotic behavior where the population exhibits an apparently random sequence of "outbreaks" followed by "crashes." We give a detailed account of the underlying mathematics of this process and review other situations (in two- and higher dimensional systems, or in differential equation systems) where apparently random dynamics can arise from bifurcation processes. This complicated behavior, in simple deterministic models, can have disturbing implications for the analysis and interpretation of biological data.

1,119 citations

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TL;DR: It is shown that the thermal motions of the polymerizing filaments can produce a directed force, and this "elastic Brownian ratchet" can explain quantitatively the propulsion of Listeria and the protrusive mechanics of lamellipodia.

Abstract: Certain kinds of cellular movements are apparently driven by actin polymerization. Examples include the lamellipodia of spreading and migrating embryonic cells, and the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, that propels itself through its host's cytoplasm by constructing behind it a polymerized tail of cross-linked actin filaments. Peskin et al. (1993) formulated a model to explain how a polymerizing filament could rectify the Brownian motion of an object so as to produce unidirectional force (Peskin, C., G. Odell, and G. Oster. 1993. Cellular motions and thermal fluctuations: the Brownian ratchet. Biophys. J. 65:316–324). Their "Brownian ratchet" model assumed that the filament was stiff and that thermal fluctuations affected only the "load," i.e., the object being pushed. However, under many conditions of biological interest, the thermal fluctuations of the load are insufficient to produce the observed motions. Here we shall show that the thermal motions of the polymerizing filaments can produce a directed force. This "elastic Brownian ratchet" can explain quantitatively the propulsion of Listeria and the protrusive mechanics of lamellipodia. The model also explains how the polymerization process nucleates the orthogonal structure of the actin network in lamellipodia.

928 citations

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TL;DR: A comprehensive review of spatiotemporal pattern formation in systems driven away from equilibrium is presented in this article, with emphasis on comparisons between theory and quantitative experiments, and a classification of patterns in terms of the characteristic wave vector q 0 and frequency ω 0 of the instability.

Abstract: A comprehensive review of spatiotemporal pattern formation in systems driven away from equilibrium is presented, with emphasis on comparisons between theory and quantitative experiments. Examples include patterns in hydrodynamic systems such as thermal convection in pure fluids and binary mixtures, Taylor-Couette flow, parametric-wave instabilities, as well as patterns in solidification fronts, nonlinear optics, oscillatory chemical reactions and excitable biological media. The theoretical starting point is usually a set of deterministic equations of motion, typically in the form of nonlinear partial differential equations. These are sometimes supplemented by stochastic terms representing thermal or instrumental noise, but for macroscopic systems and carefully designed experiments the stochastic forces are often negligible. An aim of theory is to describe solutions of the deterministic equations that are likely to be reached starting from typical initial conditions and to persist at long times. A unified description is developed, based on the linear instabilities of a homogeneous state, which leads naturally to a classification of patterns in terms of the characteristic wave vector q0 and frequency ω0 of the instability. Type Is systems (ω0=0, q0≠0) are stationary in time and periodic in space; type IIIo systems (ω0≠0, q0=0) are periodic in time and uniform in space; and type Io systems (ω0≠0, q0≠0) are periodic in both space and time. Near a continuous (or supercritical) instability, the dynamics may be accurately described via "amplitude equations," whose form is universal for each type of instability. The specifics of each system enter only through the nonuniversal coefficients. Far from the instability threshold a different universal description known as the "phase equation" may be derived, but it is restricted to slow distortions of an ideal pattern. For many systems appropriate starting equations are either not known or too complicated to analyze conveniently. It is thus useful to introduce phenomenological order-parameter models, which lead to the correct amplitude equations near threshold, and which may be solved analytically or numerically in the nonlinear regime away from the instability. The above theoretical methods are useful in analyzing "real pattern effects" such as the influence of external boundaries, or the formation and dynamics of defects in ideal structures. An important element in nonequilibrium systems is the appearance of deterministic chaos. A greal deal is known about systems with a small number of degrees of freedom displaying "temporal chaos," where the structure of the phase space can be analyzed in detail. For spatially extended systems with many degrees of freedom, on the other hand, one is dealing with spatiotemporal chaos and appropriate methods of analysis need to be developed. In addition to the general features of nonequilibrium pattern formation discussed above, detailed reviews of theoretical and experimental work on many specific systems are presented. These include Rayleigh-Benard convection in a pure fluid, convection in binary-fluid mixtures, electrohydrodynamic convection in nematic liquid crystals, Taylor-Couette flow between rotating cylinders, parametric surface waves, patterns in certain open flow systems, oscillatory chemical reactions, static and dynamic patterns in biological media, crystallization fronts, and patterns in nonlinear optics. A concluding section summarizes what has and has not been accomplished, and attempts to assess the prospects for the future.

6,145 citations

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TL;DR: The second volume in a series on terrestrial and marine comparisons focusing on the temporal complement of the earlier spatial analysis of patchiness and pattern was published by Levin et al..

Abstract: This book is the second of two volumes in a series on terrestrial and marine comparisons, focusing on the temporal complement of the earlier spatial analysis of patchiness and pattern (Levin et al. 1993). The issue of the relationships among pattern, scale, and patchiness has been framed forcefully in John Steele’s writings of two decades (e.g., Steele 1978). There is no pattern without an observational frame. In the words of Nietzsche, “There are no facts… only interpretations.”

5,833 citations

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TL;DR: It is reported here that cdc42, another member of the rho family, triggers the formation of a third type of actin-based structure found at the cell periphery, filopodia, in addition to stress fibers, and rho controls the assembly of focal adhesion complexes.

Abstract: Rho and rac, two members of the ras-related superfamily of small GTPases, regulate the polymerization of actin to produce stress fibers and lamellipodia, respectively. We report here that cdc42, another member of the rho family, triggers the formation of a third type of actin-based structure found at the cell periphery, filopodia. In addition to stress fibers, rho controls the assembly of focal adhesion complexes. We now show that rac and cdc42 also stimulate the assembly of multimolecular focal complexes at the plasma membrane. These complexes, which are associated with lamellipodia and filopodia, contain vinculin, paxillin, and focal adhesion kinase, but are distinct from and formed independently of rho-induced focal adhesions. Activation of cdc42 in Swiss 3T3 cells leads to the sequential activation of rac and then rho, suggesting a molecular model for the coordinated control of cell motility by members of the rho family of GTPases.

4,440 citations

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TL;DR: Acts in what Hutchinson (1965) has called the 'ecological theatre' are played out on various scales of space and time and to understand the drama, one must view it on the appropriate scale.

Abstract: Acts in what Hutchinson (1965) has called the 'ecological theatre' are played out on various scales of space and time. To understand the drama, we must view it on the appropriate scale. Plant ecologists long ago recognized the importance of sampling scale in their descriptions of the dispersion or distribution of species (e.g. Greig-Smith, 1952). However, many ecologists have behaved as if patterns and the processes that produce them are insensitive to differences in scale and have designed their studies with little explicit attention to scale. Kareiva & Andersen (1988) surveyed nearly 100 field experiments in community ecology and found that half were conducted on plots no larger than 1 m in diameter, despite considerable differences in the sizes and types of organisms studied. Investigators addressing the same questions have often conducted their studies on quite different scales. Not surprisingly, their findings have not always matched, and arguments have ensued. The disagreements among conservation biologists over the optimal design of nature reserves (see Simberloff, 1988) are at least partly due to a failure to appreciate scaling differences among organisms. Controversies about the role of competition in structuring animal communities (Schoener, 1982; Wiens, 1983, 1989) or about the degree of coevolution in communities (Connell, 1980; Roughgarden, 1983) may reflect the

4,437 citations

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TL;DR: The authors are grateful for financial support from the National Institutes of Health (grants GM23244 and GM53905), and to very helpful comments on the manuscript from Elliot Elson, Vlodya Gelfand, Paul Matsudaira, Julie Theriot, and Sally Zigmond.

Abstract: The authors are grateful for financial support from the National Institutes of Health (grants GM23244 and GM53905), and to very helpful comments on the manuscript from Elliot Elson, Vlodya Gelfand, Paul Matsudaira, Julie Theriot, and Sally Zigmond. D. A. L. and A. F. H. would also like to thank Alan Wells, and Anna Huttenlocher and Rebecca Sandborg, respectively, for stimulating conversations on this subject, and Sean Palecek for Figure 2Figure 2. Finally, we extend our apologies to all our colleagues in the field whose work we were unable to cite formally because of imposed reference limitations.

3,973 citations