PerspectiveMaterials Science

A Window on Biomineralization

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Science  04 Mar 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5714, pp. 1419-1420
DOI: 10.1126/science.1109440

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Most organisms are able to deposit minerals, for example in shells, bones, or teeth. In his Perspective, Veis discusses how organisms may direct the mineral deposition process. Focusing on the formation of tooth dentin and enamel, he highlights the report by Du et al ., who show that the initial deposition of the minerals in tooth enamel is directed by a hierarchical self-assembly process involving amelogenin molecules. The process is an example of matrix-mediated mineralization, and the insights gained in the study should be useful for the development of biomimetic materials.