“This is a benchmark paper in biology,” said Margaret McFall-Ngai, a professor of medical microbiology and immunology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who was not involved in the work. “For many, many decades people have been . . . trying to figure out how and why marine larvae settle where they do in the environment.”
“The method is pretty fast and minimally destructive,” said Jakob Vinther from Bristol University, who was not involved in the study.
“Previously it was thought that [the neuronal precurors] just withdrew, taking the whole cell with it. And what we observed was actually there was an abscission event and the apical compartment of the cell was left behind,” study coauthor Kate Storey of the University of Dundee in the U.K. told The Scientist.
But not everyone is convinced. Commenting on the work, Joshua Sanes, a neuroscientist at Harvard University who was not involved in the study, said that while the new “evidence is strong,” in other neural wiring systems, such as in retina, “this rule unequivocally fails to explain actual patterns of connectivity.”
“Being able to work easily in a wet environment is a big deal and the flexibility [of the material] on a beating heart is really incredible,” said Jennifer Elisseeff, a biomedical engineer at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, who was not involved in the work.
Other news in life science:
Common Lab Mice Differ
Related substrains of the Black 6 lab mouse carry key genetic polymorphisms, including one that has a dramatic effect on the rodents’ responses to cocaine.
Speaker Selection Bias
Including at least one woman when planning scientific symposia prompts the selection of more female speakers, a study shows.
UK Government Laments Tamiflu Secrets
A parliamentary committee says drugmakers have not disclosed enough data on the anti-influenza medicine.
Schizophrenia’s Jumping Genetics
Researchers find evidence that transposable elements, also known as jumping genes, may contribute to the development of the psychiatric disorder.
Dung Beetles Navigate by Sunlight
Shortly after demonstrating dung beetles’ ability to navigate by the stars, researchers in Sweden provide evidence that the insects can also use the sun to find their way.