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The use of planarians to dissect the molecular basis of metazoan regeneration

Summary: The use of planarians to dissect the molecular basis of
metazoan regeneration
Freshwater planarians possess remarkable regenerative abilities that make them one of the classic model organisms for
the study of regeneration . These free-living members of the phylum Platyhelminthes are representatives of the simplest
triploblastic organisms possessing bilateral symmetry and cephalization . Furthermore, planarians occupy an important
position in the evolution of Metazoa, which allows for the possibility of vertically integrating molecular studies of regen-
eration in this organism to other, more widely studied animal model systems. Because of their relative simplicity, devel-
opmental plasticity, and evolutionary position, planarians are an attractive system to dissect the molecular processes
underlying regeneration . The objective of this article is to present a molecular strategy to identify and functionally ma-
nipulate genes involved in the process of blastema-derived regeneration . Ultimately, the genes identified in planarians
and their interactions during regeneration will define a series of useful molecular templates that may help unravel the
more complex epigenetic processes of vertebrate regeneration and may perhaps uncover the factors that make re-
generation permissive in some, but not all, metazoans. (WOUND REP REG 1998;6:413-420)
Regeneration is one of the most fascinating and in-
triguing problems of biology, a fact that is clearly
shown by the continuous research that it has inspired
since Trembley first reported its occurrence in hydra
over 250 years ago. The timeless attraction of this
problem springs from the unique set of questions it


Source: Alvarado, Alejandro Sánchez - Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, University of Utah


Collections: Biology and Medicine