Scutoids: A New Shape Which Was Hidden In Your Cells

What is the largest organ? It is a stupid question, skin. Everyone knows it. Well, what is the shape of the skin? This is also simple, right? Frustum. Uh huh! You’re wrong.

If you’ve been thinking that this two square meters long organ’s shape is Frustum then you’re completely wrong. Not to mention that these column-like prisms were considered as the shape of the epithelial cells until today.

Epithelial cells are a type of cells lining the surfaces of your, mine and everyone’s body. They’re found in skin, blood vessels, and organs. It also helps building structures in developing the embryos, which later turns into our bodily organs.

“During the modeling process, the results we saw were weird,” says Javier Buceta, a bioengineer from Lehigh University.

He referred to it ‘weird’ because their team couldn’t recognize the shape at the first sight. This new six-edged Y-shaped prism has never been previously described in any scientific kinds of literature. Buceta said, “To our surprise, the additional shape didn’t even have a name in math! One does not normally have the opportunity to name a new shape.”

Buceta’s joy of having such an opportunity is very clear through his statement. Good Luck, Buceta.

They named this shape Scutoids. In homage to a posterior portion of the thorax in some insects resembling the same shape, Scutellum, when tissues curve, it tends to minimize energy, to be more stable. That is why the shape is the most energy efficient shape than any other, as epithelial cells bend.

And when in quest of knowing how much widespread the Scutoids really is, the researchers will have to go through a hard passage making their way to a unique completely new understanding of the three dimensions of epithelial organs.

And when we’re looking to grow artificial organs, this discovery could help to build a scaffold to encourage this kind of cell packing, accurately mimicking nature’s way to efficiently develop tissues.

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