This is the first observation that both chaotic and periodic patterns are formed in metal ions-deoxycholate-gel systems. It is an in vitro model for approximating the conditions present during gallstone formation. The experimental results suggest that a nonlinear scientific concept such as the ''butterfly effect'' should be considered in understanding gallstone formation. This effect suggests that a butterfly flapping its wings in Beijing today may lead to a thunderstorm in New York months later. Applying this concept to biology, minor changes in the local chemical environment within biological systems may lead to large variations in the structure and morphology of gallstone through changes in the behavior of biological mineralization process. (C) 1997 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Biochemical Research Methods