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Geometry Has a New Shape: Scutoid

  • 06 Aug 2018
  • 2 min read

Recently, scientists discovered a new shape called “Scutoid” after studying the human epithelial cells.

  • The scutoid  looks like a twisted prism which has five sides on one end and six on the other and a triangular surface on one of its longer edges. It is the form that a group of cells in the body takes in order to pack tightly and efficiently into the curves of organs.
  • The scientists named the shape "scutoid" after a triangle-shaped part of a beetle's thorax called the scutellum.
  • They used microscopy and computer imaging to identify this shape.
  • Till now, the epithelial cells were believed to be columnar or bottle-like shaped.

Epithelial Cells

  • Epithelial cells are the safety shields of the body. They are one of the four kinds of tissue that forms human body. The four basic types of tissues are: epithelial, connective, muscular, and nervous tissue.
  • They line most surfaces in an animal's body, including the skin, other organs and blood vessels.
  • They are a barrier between the inside and outside of the body and are often the first place that is attacked by viruses.
  • Epithelial cells are specialized for absorption, secretion or to act as a barrier. Eg.-
  • Epithelial cells secrete hormones into blood vessels, absorbs and transports nutrients from the foods and process it for energy.

Significance

  • This will encourage more efficient  kind of cell packing, accurately mimicking nature's way to efficiently develop tissues.
  • It is significant for the understanding of epithelial organs.
  • This study opens the door to understanding how organs are formed during their development and what might be missing in some diseases in which this process is altered.
  • Apart from biology, this is will have wide ranging applications in mathematics and other related fields.
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