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For the first time, researchers have documented a living organism passing through a liquid phase during its development. In a study in the journal Nature Cell Biology, a group of scientists led by Carl-Philipp Heisenberg of the Institute of Science and Technology Austria show that cells within embryonic zebrafish (Danio rerio) turn temporarily into a liquid as the embryo grows. “Such a fluidity transition was predicted to happen by theory and models, but here we show for the first time that it happens in a real, living organism,” says lead author Nicoletta Petridou. The yolk of zebrafish eggs is covered with a blastoderm, a thin layer of tissue. As the egg develops, the blastoderm forms a dome. By testing the tissue throughout the development of the embryo, the team finds that during “doming,” the tissue at its centre suddenly becomes a fluid. The researchers explain that the fluidity occurs when cells divide rapidly. Cells are normally connected to their neighbours, but during…