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Gut coils with help from its elastic neighbor
Date:8/10/2011

"As experimentalists, we wanted to test these ideas by altering the properties of the tissues in developing embryos and seeing if the gut coiling changes in predicted ways," says Tabin. "While we do not know how to change the relative growth rates of the gut tissues or alter their elastic properties in chickens, fortunately, nature has done the experiment for us. Animals that have evolved to take advantage of very different diets have strikingly different gut structures."

The researchers examined chicks, quails, zebra finches, and mice, and found in each case that the shape of the gut at any stage can be predicted quantitatively, based on the geometry, the relative growth rates, and the mechanical properties of the tissues.

The finding suggests that changing just the relative growth rate can alter the packing of a long tube in a reproducible way, suggesting a mechanism by which the gut may have been able to evolve to accommodate changes in diet.


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Contact: Caroline Perry
cperry@seas.harvard.edu
617-496-1351
Harvard University
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2 3

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