Enigmatic sea urchin structure catalogued

Jun 09, 2009
Pictured is the sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus. Credit: Ziegler et al., Frontiers in Zoology

A comprehensive investigation into the axial complex of sea urchins (Echinoidea), an internal structure with unknown function, has shown that within that group of marine invertebrates there exists a structural evolutionary interdependence of various internal organs. The research, published in BioMed Central's open access journal Frontiers in Zoology, demonstrates that the approach of combining all structural data available on a given organ in combination with a broad taxonomic coverage can yield novel insights into the evolution of internal organ systems.

Alexander Ziegler, from Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, led a team of researchers who used a high-resolution non-invasive imaging technique (magnetic resonance imaging) to compare the structure of the axial complex of specimens from almost all sea urchin orders. These data were extended with invasive techniques such as dissection, histology and transmission electron microscopy. Based on the available data, a re-evaluation of published studies spanning almost two centuries became possible. In their combined review/original article type manuscript, Ziegler and co-workers point out, "This kind of study is very powerful in elucidating interdependent anatomical relationships that are not obvious when the analysis is carried out only with a few species".

As well as presenting their exhaustive analysis of the architecture of the echinoid axial complex, Ziegler and his colleagues suggest a list of definitions and provide a multilingual compilation for echinoid axial complex components. According to the researchers, "This should limit the confusion caused by the bewildering range of terminology applied by different authors and in different languages to the same anatomical entities".

Source: BioMed Central (news : web)

Explore further: Built-in billboards: Male bluefin killifish signal different things with different fins

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New marker for raised intracranial pressure

Sep 11, 2008

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measurements of the thickness of the optic nerve sheath are a good marker for raised intracranial pressure (ICP). New research published today in BioMed Central's open access journal Critical Ca ...

Life isn't 2-D, so why should our encyclopedias be?

Aug 22, 2008

Biologists and biochemists are now able to access 3D images of biomacromolecules underlying biological functions and disease. Rather than relying on text to provide the understanding of biomacromolecule structures, a collaborative ...

Scientists Find Atomic Clues to Tougher Ceramics

Dec 08, 2004

Advanced ceramics are wonderful materials – they withstand temperatures that would melt steel and resist most corrosive chemicals. If only they weren’t so brittle. Poor resistance to fracture damage has been the major ...

Human brains pay a price for being big

Aug 05, 2008

Metabolic changes responsible for the evolution of our unique cognitive abilities indicate that the brain may have been pushed to the limit of its capabilities. Research published today in BioMed Central's open access journal ...

Closing the gaps in the human genome

Jun 01, 2009

Sequence gaps in human chromosome 15 have been closed by the application of 454 technology. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access journal Genome Biology have described a simple and scalable method for finish ...

Recommended for you

User comments : 0