cells that control the acquisition of the shape of an organ. The results are published in the journal PLoS Genetics. Researchers from the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM) and the Severo Ochoa Molecular Biology Center (UAM-CSIC mixed center) have used the model organism Drosophila melanogaster, the vinegar fly, to elucidate how genes control the cellular processes that determine the form of a developing organ. Specifically, Sergio Córdoba and Carlos Estella, the signatories of the work, used the process of development of the joints of the fly’s leg to try to shed light on the relationship between genetic regulation and acquisition of shape, a central question (although little understood) in the field of developmental biology. For the authors themselves, beyond solving the particular question of how the Drosophila leg joints are formed,

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the relevance of their work consists in having Catalan Email List been able to unite the processes of genetic regulation and morphogenesis in a developmental context. “We have managed to trace the formation of the joints from the genetic subdivision of the leg to the cellular behaviors that sculpt the shape of the epithelium, and identify the dysfusion gene as a fundamental element to unite these two processes.” genetic origami The instructions that direct the formation of organisms are encoded in the genome. Therefore, for the acquisition of the shape, size and function of the organism, this genetic information must be translated into cellular behaviors such as proliferation, differentiation and cellular and tissue movements. This process of acquiring shape is known as morphogenesis . A very intuitive way to understand the morphogenesis of epithelial

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is to compare this process with origami, the art of creating figures from sheets of paper. In origami, a series of instructions indicate how to fold the paper to obtain the three-dimensional figure. In the same way, during morphogenesis, the genetic information acts as the instructions that indicate the form that the epithelium should take, through the control of the different cellular processes – which can be compared to the folds of paper. The work used the formation of the fly’s leg joints as a model because there is extensive knowledge about the formation of a leg pattern. In other words, the genes involved in giving identity to the different segments of the leg and how their expression is regulated are known in a high level of detail. In fact, the group led by Carlos Estella published in 2014, also in PLoS Genetics , a study in which the dysfusion ( dysf ) gene was identified as an

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