Defining tooth and taste bud density throughout development
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Epithelial-mesenchymal interactions are the foundation for building differing oral tissues. While the epithelium has the ability to develop into multiple tissue types, the mesenchyme confers regional specificity. Using cichlid fish, we aim to determine at what point the teeth and taste buds diverge from the common epithelium and which gene pathways are responsible for controlling tooth and taste bud density. Understanding how to pattern these structures has key implications in genetics and biomedical engineering.