Gene of the Month - Panda
And finally it's time for our Gene of the Month, and this time it's the cute and cuddly Panda. Rather than being a gene in these famous black and white bears, Panda is found in sea urchins and is short for paracentrotus anti-nodal dorsal activity. It encodes a molecule that's important for helping a developing sea urchin embryo tell its front side from its back - known as dorso-ventral patterning - and is laid down in the sea urchin egg before it's even fertilised. Panda works by acting against another important developmental molecule called nodal, which tells cells in the developing urchin to become ventral (or the front bit) rather than dorsal (that's the back).