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The Art in Science

Product Image Sea Urchin Ballet

Sea Urchin Ballet

Kate Walton, Graduate Student, Cell Biology, Duke University

The beauty and grace of the sea urchin embryo are illustrated here. The delicately swaying red arms are actually neurons required for movement. A green stained muscle surrounds the esophagus. Each muscle fiber is highly organized into a system that contracts to move food from the mouth into the gut of the embryo. Underlying each muscle fiber is a nerve, that innervates the muscle to coordinate swallowing. The yellow regions are areas where the muscle and nerves are so tightly connected that the red and green stains overlap.