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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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Video: Giant Bubbles Protect Fish From Scoliosis
4 March 2013 9:00 am
Sea squirts, fish, and mammals don't look much alike, but glimpse at their embryos and you probably couldn't tell them apart. Among other similarities, all sport a tubelike structure stretching from head to tail—the notochord—that serves as a backbone, before being replaced by the spine. In the center of the notochord there are unusual cells filled with huge bubblelike structures called vacuoles that have puzzled scientists for decades. By making movies of living zebrafish embryos, researchers are now able to show how these notochord vacuoles start off as small bubbles, then fuse together and finally inflate until they fill up the cell (as seen above). Getting rid of the vacuoles using genetic tricks produced dwarf embryos that grew up to develop kinked spines, which would be the equivalent to human scoliosis. Scoliosis is a spine deformity of unknown cause that affects 2% of the adult population. In the new study, published today in The Journal of Cell Biology, the team suggests that the notochord vacuoles act as an inflatable scaffold to build a straight spine and that zebrafish could be a good model system to study human scoliosis.
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