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Growing Planes
12 September 2015

Growing Planes

Our bones grow from points called growth plates, which are located on each end of bones, just below our joints. Specialised cells produce cartilage on one side of the growth plate that becomes calcified and pushes the end of the bone upwards. Our bones also have superstructures – ridges, elevations and projections, located at specific places along the bone, which allow tendons and ligaments to attach. But little is known about how a bone’s growth is regulated during development. Pictured are colour-coded statistical maps used to mathematically analyse slices of femurs [thigh bones]. Regions of the bone core that change very little are shown in red; regions that aren’t highly preserved are shown in blue. Bones were seen to grow to maintain isometry – the growth at each end of the bone is unique, specific and balanced, allowing the superstructures to uphold their approximate position.

Written by Katie Panteli

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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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