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Study finds how organs monitor themselves during early development

thout the somatic cells of the ovary, the egg on its own would not ripen. The eggs need this environment for their development, she says.

In every organism, both egg and sperm cells cannot develop unless they are embedded in a matrix of somatic cells, says Dr. Lehmann. Interactions of somatic cells and germ cells are of central importance to germ cell development.

The fly as a model

Why care about the fruit fly? This insect is helping researchers to grasp fundamental principles of biology and body function, explains Dr. Gilboa. "Drosophila inspires scientists in other fields and they can build on those general principles to further their work," she says. A researcher studying the challenge of infertility in humans could apply this study to his or her own work, Dr. Gilboa explains. Studying a model organism like the fly with its short generation time and ease of handling allows us to address even complicated matters like the development of an organ in a timely and less costly manner than if we used other model organisms such as the mouse, where similar studies would be quite difficult to carry out," says Dr. Lehmann.

Genetics research is revealing commonalities across species; the fruit fly delivers cues. It is an animal in which processes are first discovered and which are later confirmed in humans. "Evolution works--what works for the fruit fly is the same principle that nature has put in place for us," says Dr. Gilboa.

The implications of this study are not limited to the ovary, since the mechanism the scientists unearthed sheds light on how an organ--any organ in the body--grows. This work, says Dr. Lehmann, "has established a paradigm that can now be tested for the development of other organs and in other organisms, including the mouse. Eventually findings in model organisms increase our understanding of normal development and disease."


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Source:New York University Medical Center and School of Medicine


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