Wednesday July 19, 2023

Science Blog

New research conducted by Jan Stundl and his colleagues has identified a specific population of stem cells called trunk neural crest cells that are responsible for the development of bony scutes in fish.

The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shed light on the evolutionary origins of dermal armor in vertebrate fish and challenge previous assumptions about its development.

Stundl and his team focused on sturgeon fish, specifically the sterlet sturgeon (Acipenser ruthenus), which retains characteristics similar to its ancient ancestors. By using fluorescent dye to track the migration of trunk neural crest cells in sturgeon embryos, the researchers observed that these cells were present in the exact locations where the fish’s bony scutes were forming. Genetic signatures associated with osteoblasts, the cells responsible for bone formation, were also found in the fluorescent cells within the developing scutes.

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