Dr. Gareth Fraser, an employee at the University of Sheffield’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, says that although the final structures of all the vertebrates differ but their developmental origin is the same.
An international team of scientists have discovered that human teeth developed from the same genes as that of the peculiar beaked teeth of the pufferfish.
The research was led by Dr. Gareth Fraser, and he says that pufferfish’s tooth-making program is similar to those of other vertebrates, with humans also involved.
The research was published in the PNAS journal on Monday, May 15, 2017, and states that the study has revealed that all vertebrates have some form of dental regeneration potential. Though pufferfish and humans use the same stem cells for tooth generation, the pufferfish replaces some teeth with elongated bands that results in its characteristic beak.
Researchers from Natural History Museum London and the University of Tokyo predict that on the basis of the research, now tooth loss mysteries can be addressed and looked into. According to Dr. Fraser the study started with the question on how pufferfish makes a beak, but as they progressed in their research they found out the stem cells and genes responsible for the regeneration process, which is same for vertebrates including humans. He said that these studies can be used to address questions of tooth loss in humans on the basis of the fact that all vertebrates use a set of conserved stem cells to regenerate their teeth.
The pufferfish elongated and exceptional beak structure has progressed from the modification of dental replacement. The beak of pufferfish comprises of four elongated tooth bands which are replaced time to time. But instead of losing those teeth when they are replaced, the multiple generations of teeth fuse together and result in the formation of the beak, which enables the pufferfish to kill any kind of prey.
The students at Sheffield are provided access to advancements in animal and plant sciences, which helps them increase their knowledge and understanding of organisms, ecosystems and interdependencies of life for establishing a sustainable future.
Alex Thiery, a PhD student at the University of Sheffield and a member of the research team, says that the team was interested in gathering information about the developmental origin of the pufferfish beak because it showed how evolutionary novelty rises in vertebrates. Though the vertebrates are very diverse in nature, but the way they develop is similar. The small discovery of the development of pufferfish beak demonstrates how research, be it big or small, can have an impact.
In another research carried out by Dr. Gareth Fraser and his research team from the University of Sheffield, published in the journal EvoDevo, have discovered that shark skin teeth (known as denticles) share their developmental origin with reptile scales, bird feathers and human hair.
Previous studies on this regard have found out that reptile scales, bird feathers and human hair has progressed from a single ancestor, which is a reptile that dates back to 300 million years, but this new study by Dr. Fraser and his team has revealed that shark skin teeth are developed from the same genes.
Sharks fit into a more basal group of vertebrates and their scales have been found in the fossil remains that dates back to 450 million years. This lead to the conclusion that all vertebrates, whether their habitat is on land or in water, have same developmental procedure for their skin, hair and teeth, which has remain intact throughout vertebrate evolution.