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Escutoide, the fascinating new geometric form discovered in nature



  Unidos Escutoids

Copyright of the Image
Universidad de Sevilla

Image Caption

Each of these two figures, green and yellow, is an escutoid. Although it is difficult to see from the perspective of the image, the surfaces where the two escutoids are in contact are curved.

The discovery surprised the researchers: a geometric shape that they had never seen.

In studying the embryonic development of animals, a group of scientists discovered that epithelial cells multiplied, stacked, and formed strangely.

And they gave this form that they did not recognize the name " escutoid ", because of its similarities with a part of the thorax of some insects that's called " escutelo ". "We were trying to understand how the epithelial tissues, which are very important cells during embryonic development are organized and that we have organs such as the liver, pancreas and digestive tract," he said. the BBC Mundo. Luis M. Escudero, a researcher at the Institute of Biomedicine in Seville, Spain, and one of the authors of the new study published in the journal Nature Communications .

"These epithelial tissues are cells that are packaged, which are all close together and, because of technical difficulties, it is difficult to know exactly how they are packed in three dimensions," says Escudero, also a professor in the Department of Medicine. cell biology of the University of Seville.

"So what we did in my lab was to design a model for calculating a tube, which was a three-dimensional fabric but curved by computer, this n & rsquo; Was not real. E The computer model predicts a geometric shape that has not been described and we give this geometric form the name of escutoid. "

" We work with insects and are very used to seeing them. you can really see how the geometric shape reminds a lot to the chest of some beetles " added

Different from a prism

The prediction of the model was then confirmed to study the tissue structure of several animals

How to describe a scutellum?

One of the simplest forms, according to Escudero, is to say that an escutoid is characterized by curved surfaces and at least one vertex in a plane different from that of the two bases

Getty Images

Legend of the image

The prisms, like those we see above, have in the bases all the vertices and it's vertices are joined from top to bottom forming the lateral faces of the prism.The escutoid, on the other hand, has at least one more vertex.And another difference is that the Prisms do not have curved surfaces.

"Simplified, is like a prism in which there is a peak in the middle because the prisms have all the summits in the bases, both in the bottom and the top, and those here the vertices are joined from top to bottom forming the lateral faces of the prism ", explains the professor of the University of Seville

" But the escutoïde, if one simplifies it a lot, would have to minus one more peak ".

On the other hand, the prisms do not have curved surfaces and that is what makes the escutoid different. In the escutoid, the side faces may be concave or convex and, therefore, the escaroids nestle and leave no space between them. "

" Right now we've added a formal but simplified Wikipedia definition, but the easiest thing is to see the picture. "

Less energy expenditure

The advantage of escutoid is that it gives epithelial cells more stability and energy efficiency, according to Escudero." By adopting this form, the cells spend to less energy when a fabric must maintain a curved structure, "says the Spanish scientist.

Copyright of the image
University of Seville

Legend of the Image

One of the simplest ways to describe the escutoid is to be characterized by curved surfaces and at least one summit in a plane different from that of the two bases.

"Epithelial tissues strongly change their shape during development to give rise to very complicated organs."

"Changing the form as everything that is done in a living being has an energy cost, and the adoption of the escutoid form makes this energy weaker, than the tissue is more energy stable ",

Efficacy has been proven with physicist Javier Buceta, of the University of Lehigh, United States, and another of the authors of the study.

"After many theoretical experiments, the conclusion that emerges is that m antiene form with lower energy expenditure ."

Organs

The discovery could have applications in medicine, especially in the design of organs in the laboratory.

"Our article is about basic science: it brings together mathematics, physics, and cell biology, but what is happening right now is that cell biology and developmental biology are fundamental for a branch of biomedicine, the creation of organs within the laboratory, that is to say synthetic organs ", explains Escudero to the BBC Mundo

" ] Tissue engineering is a huge advance and, knowing the structure of the organs in reality, it will be easier for the organs that are created in the laboratory to reproduce all the characteristics of the real organs "

In the future, it will be necessary to verify that the organs that are produced in the laboratory are really packed in the same way and ordered in the same way as the real ones," says Escudero.

"That's why our discovery is that I'm going to open a series of doors for future research by other groups," he concluded.

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