In which nature imitates science – number 327

Sometimes when you look at something from a different angle, you see something you’d never otherwise have noticed.

We’ve been trying to grow melons in the greenhouse, without much success: hundreds of female flowers have unfurled, but only a handful have set fruit. Meanwhile, we haven’t been very good about keeping the vines tidy or pruned, so they have infiltrated absolutely everywhere in an untidy green tangle, underfoot and overhead.

This morning, Richard was outside the greenhouse and happened to notice one fruit we’d missed, growing between the slats behind the lettuces and padrón peppers:




Its strange behavior reminded me of something. After a few minutes, I realized what it was:

A white blood cell l in the vessels squeezes between cells into tissue to fight infection
Remix of “Leukozytenmigration 01” by Kuebi = Armin Kübelbeck – own work, made with InkScape. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Diapedesis: the process by which leukocytes, which patrol in the bloodstream, are attracted into tissues to fight infection. Like this melon, leukocytes manage to squeeze their very large bulk into a very tiny space to get from A to B. Once in the tissues, the immune cells home in on invaders and eat them up.

In this case, however, the meal is going to be a lot tastier.

About Jennifer Rohn

Scientist, novelist, rock chick
This entry was posted in Domestic bliss, Gardening, Scientific thinking, Silliness. Bookmark the permalink.