Tag Archives: Developmental biology

Cancer and Extracellular Matrix DNA

Mina Bissell has been challenging the notion that cancer is solely based on DNA in the nucleus. Here she explains how the environment (not necessarily epigenetic processes) can influence developmental biology. Understandably, for her “radical” belief of ECM DNA and environment, she has been challenged by many biologists. What do you think?


Justin, Alligators, Teeth, and Stem Cells

Let’s get one thing clear.  Scientists will go to low levels to try to grab your attention and make you interested in their research.  I have been to talks where the researcher threw up a pic of actors from Baywatch to make an analogy to methylating protein complexes.  So…naturally this post has absolutely nothing to do with JT… but now that I have your attention, I wanted to share with you recent developments regarding teeth science! As diphyodont species, we can only generate two sets of teeth in our lifetime, and after that we are SOL (SIMPLY Out of Luck).  But other species such as the American alligator can undergo life-long teeth regeneration.  Dr. Chuong and his team at the University of Southern Californiaset out to study the American alligator based on the similarity of teeth layout in the organism compared to humans and to learn more about the nature of stem cells that contribute to teeth regeneration.  The presence of a layer of epithelial tissues known as the dental lamina seems to serve as the home to dental stem cells for the alligator, whose each 80 teeth “can be replaced up to 50 times over their lifetime.”  It is interesting that humans also have the dental lamina layer of cells.  All in all, the group would like to use this alligator model and to isolate cells from the dental lamina to create to see whether they can regenerate teeth in the laboratory.  While you should still brush your teeth twice a day, I think the research creates hope for those suffering form dental diseases to have their own teeth that might look just like Justin’s when restored at the dentist.  Definitely a Fancy thought.


Here’s the link for the full article that published the research in PNAS:


First post: Music + Squid Chromatophores….definitely Fancy

So for my first post I really wanted to share this video with the web community. It’s an old one and it has probably been reblogged many times…but…I’m very interested in developmental biology–especially physical manifestations of it in pigmentation–when it comes to seeing biological patterns and stimuli and think everyone should see it. Basically these researchers connected axons of a squid’s dorsal fin to electrodes that sent signals (action potential) to chromatophores (the pigment cells) based on the bass of the music that was played in the background. It’s a combination that shows the fascinating nature of neurons, color in nature, and how species respond to stimuli. I’m concerned about the ethics of this demonstration though, because I don’t want our lovely squid to have experienced any pain during the experiment and hope that the Backyard Brains group was also concerned about the matter. (I think it’s important that we apply ethical principles to our science these days and I hope that my blog will reflect that through its development). Anyways, enjoy some squid, neurons, chromatophores. And stay fancy. Always.