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Organs in Bloom
01 January 2012

Organs in Bloom

Forget the gym; scientists are the real bodybuilders. Studying fruit fly ovaries like these is helping researchers understand how cells grow together to form tissues and organs. Understanding how organs develop may in the future pave the way to regenerate - or even grow new - organs in patients. Using this technology, treatments for conditions like heart disease, kidney failure or liver disease could be revolutionised. The delicate inflorescence of fruit fly ovaries shown here is shaped by a combination of actin and myosin – two proteins that usually make up muscle fibres. Both proteins form a fibrous network, which sculpts the tissue as it grows by means of oscillating contractions. This helps to build the body’s organs brick-by-brick, cell-by-cell.

Written by Andrew Purcell

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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