Mystery Photo

What in the world is it?

Mystery Photo

Don’t peek at the answer until you’ve given this a good try! Then, scroll down a bit and the truth will be revealed to you.

(Image Credits: Courtesy Ormond MacDougald, University of Michigan)

A close-up of a soccer ball? How about soap bubbles? Nope. It’s a microscopic view of fat cells in a mouse. You see, inn August 2000 scientists at the University of Michigan Medical School discovered a molecular switch that controls the formation of fat cells in mice. If the switch is on, fat cells will not develop. Switch it off, and even would-be muscle cells turn to fat.

This powerful molecular switch is one of several related proteins called Wnts (pronounced "wints"), which exist in all types of animals. And while this molecular switch is just one part of a large fat puzzle, understanding it will help scientists learn how and why obesity develops. If you want to see what the fat cells in the photo above look like with the molecular switch turned on, check out the photo below and compare!


Mystery Photo

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