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Body builders -- the worms that point the way to understanding tissue regeneration
Date:4/23/2010

s knowledge we can also assess the consequences of what happens when stem cells go wrong during the normal processes of renewal for example in the blood cell system where rogue stem cells can result in Leukaemia."

Smed-prep is necessary for the correct differentiation and location of the cells that make up a planarian worm's head. It is also sufficient for defining where the head should be located on the worm. The team have found that although the presence of Smed-prep is vital so that the head and brain are in the right place, the worm stem cells can still be persuaded to form brain cells as a result of the action of other unrelated genes. But even so, without Smed-prep these cells do not organise themselves to form a normal brain.

Daniel Felix, a graduate student who carried out the experimental work said: "The understanding of the molecular basis for tissue remodeling and regeneration is of vital importance for regenerative medicine. Planarians are famous for their immense power of regeneration, being able to regenerate a new head after decapitation. With the homeobox gene Smed-prep, we have characterised the first gene necessary for correct anterior fate and patterning during regeneration. It has been a really exciting project and I feel very lucky to have had this study as the centre piece of my thesis work"


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Contact: Lindsay Brooke
lindsay.brooke@nottingham.ac.uk
44-115-951-5751
University of Nottingham
Source:Eurekalert

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