Meeting Abstract

66.2  Friday, Jan. 6  A comparative approach to animal regeneration SRIVASTAVA, Mansi*; REDDIEN, Peter W; Whitehead Institute; Whitehead Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, HHMI mansi@wi.mit.edu

Members of most animal phyla are able to replace damaged or missing tissue. A comparative approach can reveal whether the genetic mechanisms underlying regeneration in different animal species are shared or independently evolved. With the capacity to replace virtually all missing tissues, a sequenced genome, and RNAi tools for studying gene function, the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea has become a model system for uncovering genes involved in the processes of regeneration. Cnidarians are well-known for their regenerative ability. The starlet sea anemone, Nematostella vectensis, has emerged as a model cnidarian species for evolutionary developmental studies and is able to regenerate its primary body axis. A member of the phylum Acoelomorpha, the three-banded panther worm, Hofstenia miamia, is also able to regenerate both anterior and posterior missing tissues. We are seeking genes that are common to regenerative processes in planarians, cnidarians, and acoels. We are currently developing tools to study conserved gene function during regeneration in Schmidtea, Nematostella, and Hofstenia.