Evolutionary Dentistry

Using gene networks to understand tooth development

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Using gene networks to understand tooth development.

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Darwin had his finches, Morgan had his fruit flies, and scientists today have cichlid fishes to trace the biological origins of jaws and teeth. As reported in the journal PLoS Biology, researchers supported by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) report they have deduced a network of dental genes in cichlids that likely was present to build the first tooth some half a billion years ago. The researchers say their finding lays out a core evolutionary list of molecules needed to make a tooth. Todd Streelman, PhD, a scientist at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and senior author on the study, said the discovery should provide useful information for researchers attempting to coax diseased teeth back to health with biology rather than the traditional hand-held drill.

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Darwin had his finches, Morgan had his fruit flies, and scientists today have cichlid fishes to trace the biological origins of jaws and teeth. As reported in the journal PLoS Biology, researchers supported by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) report they have deduced a network of dental genes in cichlids that likely was present to build the first tooth some half a billion years ago. The researchers say their finding lays out a core evolutionary list of molecules needed to make a tooth. Todd Streelman, PhD, a scientist at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and senior author on the study, said the discovery should provide useful information for researchers attempting to coax diseased teeth back to health with biology rather than the traditional hand-held drill. [Full story]

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  • Created By: Troy Hilley
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Sep 2, 2009 - 8:00pm
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 11:11pm