From day one, a frog’s developing brain is calling the shots | Science News

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From day one, a frog’s developing brain is calling the shots

In brainless frog embryos, muscle and nerve growth goes haywire

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5:00am, September 25, 2017
tadpole

BUSY BRAIN The still-forming brain of a frog sends important messages to the body. When the brain is missing, the body doesn’t develop properly, a new study suggests.

Frog brains get busy long before they’re fully formed. Just a day after fertilization, embryonic brains begin sending signals to far-off places in the body, helping oversee the layout of complex patterns of muscles and nerve fibers. And when the brain is missing, bodily chaos ensues, researchers report online September 25 in Nature Communications.

The results, from brainless embryos and tadpoles, broaden scientists’ understanding of the types of signals involved in making sure bodies develop correctly, says developmental biologist Catherine McCusker of the University of Massachusetts Boston. Scientists are familiar with short-range signals among nearby cells that help pattern bodies. But because these newly described missives travel all the way from the brain to the far reaches of the body, they are “the first example of really long-range signals,” she says.

Celia Herrera-Rincon

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