Scientists have discovered a new shape called scutoid while studying nature’s way of moulding tissue to form the skin, cavity linings and the building blocks of organs.
The shape has five sides on one end and six on the other and a triangular surface on one of its longer edges. Scientists have referred to it as a twisted prism kind of shape that allows the tissue to mould around organs.
A scutoid is a solid geometric shape, like a cube or a pyramid, which had not been described until now. The epithelial cells adopt this form when the tissue curves, giving it a more stable structure. It could be said that they look like ‘twisted prisms’.
These new and beautiful shapes are the solution that nature has found to fold and curve the epithelia, which lines the outer surfaces of organs.
The epithelial cells are the construction blocks with which an organism is formed. They are like ‘pieces of Tente or Lego from which animals are made.
The epithelial cells form structures with multiple functions like forming a barrier against infections or absorbing nutrients.
During the development of an embryo, it changes from a simple structure formed from only a handful of cells to an animal with very complex organs. This process doesn’t only occur because of the growth of the organism, but also because the epithelial cells start ‘moving and joining together’ to organize themselves correctly and give the organs their final shape.
The significance of the discovery:
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.