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Skin and sensory cells collaborate in embryonic development

16 February 2021

Skin Crawling

In the first days of life, embryonic cells shuffle into place. This morphogenesis shapes our early tissues, but also requires careful coordination. Seeking insights, scientists turn to genetically similar, but easier to study, organisms like this zebrafish. Cells in its posterior lateral line primordium PLLp, (highlighted in green) usually migrate along the fish, peppering its body with tiny sensory organs. But this zebrafish is wounded – its skin (purple) is torn. Only when the skin heals (later in the video) does the PLLp continue to migrate. Researchers used a high-powered 3D imaging technique to capture clues to a cellular collaboration between skin and PLLp, which helps to knit early tissues into place. They now hope to follow other developmental milestones and link them to similar communicating tissues in human development.

Written by John Ankers

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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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