Most of us just need to master the classic shapes, such as circles, squares, triangles, and a handful of polygons to cope in this world. But that's not all there is – there are dozens of funky forms that scientists, engineers and biologists have classified, including things like the hemihelix discovered in 2014, which resembles a kinky slinky. Now biologists have found another new form called Scutoid. It's probably found in your armpits, on your nose and all over your face, as it's a form in which your skin cells bend.
Bruce Y. Lee at Forbes reports that the new form described in an article in the journal Nature Communications helps solve a long-standing mystery about human skin. Millions of epithelial cells are packed together to form human skin, which is pretty well air and water proof. On a completely flat surface, columns, prisms or cube-shaped cells could be compressed close enough to form such a strong barrier. But the human body has few, if any, completely flat surfaces (sorry for Channing Tatum's abdominal muscles), which means that cubes and columns do not work. And the epithelial cells also have to bend and curve quite extensively during embryonic development.
To solve this puzzle, researchers in the US and Europe worked on a computer model using the Voronoi diagram to figure out how epithelial cells look packed together. According to a press release, the best solution was a completely new form that the team described as a skutoid, as it resembles a top-down view of a beetle scutellum that is part of its shell. The shape looks like a long, pentagonal prism with a diagonal surface that is cut off at one end so that this end has six sides. This makes it possible to package scutoids along with alternating five-sided and six-sided ends that form the surface so that the shapes can form curved surfaces without pulling apart. Do not worry if it's hard to imagine ̵
"During the modeling process [computer]the results we saw were weird," says co-author Javier Buceta of Lehigh University in the publication. "Our model predicted that with increasing curvature of the tissue, columns and bottle shapes were not the only forms that cells developed […]." To our surprise, the additional form did not even have a name in math! naming new form. "
Jessica Boddy at Gizmodo reports that the team then found scutoid-like forms in the epithelium of zebrafish and salivary glands of fruit flies. While Sesame Street is unlikely to sing a song about the skutoid in the foreseeable future, the form could have important applications in medicine. "If you're looking for artificial organs, for example, this discovery could help you build a scaffold to stimulate this type of cell packing and mimic the way tissue is efficiently engineered," says Buceta in the publication I believe that this is in many ways a major breakthrough, "says co-author Luis Escudero of the University of Seville on Boddy," We are convinced that there are more implications that we try to understand as we speak. "
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