Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Appendix (adding onto Sanjula's previous post)

I found an article on Scientific American about possible functions of the appendix, one of the vestigial organs considered to be relatively useless, in the human body. It states that the fetal appendix actually produces endocrine cells that secrete amines and peptide hormones that are crucial for their development, especially from 11th week of development till young adulthood.

Speaking of fetus and conformational and functional changes, hemoglobins also go through some significant changes from fetal stages to adulthood. There are different types of hemoglobins expressed in the fetus that gets unexpressed.

Fig 1. This shows the different types of hemoglobin genes expressed during fetal stages and adult life.

Fig 2. Schematic representation of hemoglobin gene regulations.


All in all, sometimes it is important to view the functions and purposes of organs and appendages from an evolutionary developmental perspective, also known as evo-devo.


Sources:

1. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=what-is-the-function-of-t
2. http://sickle.bwh.harvard.edu/hbsynthesis.html

1 comment:

  1. This is really interesting. I think this provides pretty compelling evidence, that maybe the appendix has a more important purpose than we presume it to have right now.

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