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Image of the Day: Double Header

Image of the Day: Double Header

Scientists have manipulated the electrical signals that help guide flatworms in regenerating their body parts to encourage a flatworm to grow two heads.

Carolyn Wilke
Mar 8, 2019


Researchers have found electrical signals in planarian flatworms (Dugesia japonica) that help cells communicate as the first step in the process of rebuilding tissue after a head or tail is lopped off, they reported March 5 in Biophysical Journal

Scientists already knew that genes playing a role in the worms’ sprouting of new body parts turn on around six hours after an amputation. In this study, the team at Tufts University used voltage-sensitive dyes to reveal the electric potentials of cells in the worms. By manipulating the voltage pattern at the wound site, they also created a flatworm with two heads. 

F. Durant et al., “The role of early bioelectric signals in the regeneration of planarian anterior/posterior polarity,” Biophysical Journal, doi:10.1016/j.bpj.2019.01.029, 2019.

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