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Visualising the activity of proteins of the Wnt signalling pathway in development

07 November 2022

The Body Blueprint

Everyone is unique right? Sort of! Unless something goes awry in development, humans generally have a head at the top, feet at the bottom, the same features in between, two arms and two legs. This is our body plan and a pattern that's intricately regulated as we develop as an embryo. Hundreds of different signals are sent between cells to construct our body pattern, but Wnt signalling is particularly important. Wnt proteins are a big, complex family, but why we have so many has puzzled researchers. Using developing mouse embryos (pictured), researchers have mapped where individual Wnt family members are found (various colours), whether they work solo or in pairs. This work not only beautifully illustrates the intricate levels of organisation required to create an organism’s body plan, but is also a useful tool for researchers to use in the future to study Wnt signalling during development in more detail.

Written by Sophie Arthur

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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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