Growing Teeth Formula

Researchers at the  Institute of Biotechnology of the University of Helsinki developed a computer model reproducing population-level variation in  teeth. This has implications for growing correctly shaped teeth.

With more than 15 years of work, Jukka Jernvall and his team have compiled data on the evolutionary development of mammal teeth and the main aspects of a formula for making teeth emerging.

According to a mathematical computer model, a rather simple basic formula seems to be behind the complex gene puzzle resulting in tooth formations. The jungle of gene networks has a ‘patterning kernel’ which regulates the variation of teeth among individuals. It is possible that human teeth from the incisors to the molar teeth may result from a single factor which regulates cell division.

The researchers have investigated their model on seal teeth. The Ladoga ringed seal collection  at the University of Helsinki served as an ideal population sample  because dentitions are highly variable.

Isaac Salazar-Ciudad and Jukka Jernvall. A computational model of teeth and the developmental origins of morphological variation. Nature, 2010.

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