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Worms tell a tale of how nerves develop

| | October 11, 2013

How nerve cells branch out and develop is a somewhat mysterious process, but a new study reveals how at least some of these nerves reach their target.

Nerve cells throughout the body form treelike structures known as dendrites that sense input from their environment and relay it to the nervous system. Now, researchers have found a protein in the skin of roundworms (Caenorhabditis elegans) that attracts growing dendrites, and the same protein may be present in humans.

To understand how dendrites form, researchers performed a genetic screen to look for mutations that led to defective dendrites on pain-sensing cells, known to cover nearly the entire worm in a weblike structure.

Read the full, original story here: Worms tell a tale of how nerves develop

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