London, March 17 (IANS) Different parts of a single organ in the body can change size at different rates, finds a new study conducted at a British university.
Scientists have been trying to understand how organs reach the right size in our bodies since the beginning of the last century, according to lead researcher Jeremy Niven from University of Sussex where the study was conducted.
“Scaling within organs still remains poorly understood but our results show for the first time that when the size of our bodies change, the different regions and cells within our organs respond in more diverse ways than previously thought,” Niven said.
In the study, published in the journal Biology Letters, scientists measured the eye surfaces of 66 small and large wood ants and created eye “heat maps”.
They found that when the ants’ body sizes changed, different regions within their eyes increased or decreased in size at different rates.
“Our work provides the foundation for future investigations into the role of scaling in organ evolution. Many species show substantial variation in organ size and shape that could be produced by regional differences in scaling,” said study co-author Craig Perl.
“It is essential that we continue to try to understand how organs work and interact with one another so we can help animals remain healthy. If an organ, or the cells within it are too small or too big, this could have major consequences for an animal’s health,” Perl added.