UCLA » College » Life Sciences » Institute for Society and Genetics » News + Views » biology » Biologists induce flatworms to grow heads and brains of other species

biologists-induce-flatworms-to-grow-heads-and-brains-of-other-species

Biologists induce flatworms to grow heads and brains of other species

151124113017_1_540x360Biologists at Tufts University have succeeded in inducing one species of flatworm to grow heads and brains characteristic of another species of flatworm without altering genomic sequence. The work reveals physiological circuits as a new kind of epigenetics – information existing outside of genomic sequence – that determines large-scale anatomy.

The finding that head shape is not hard-wired by the genome but can be overridden by manipulating electrical synapses in the body suggests that differences in species could be determined in part by the activity of bioelectrical networks. The discovery could help improve understanding of birth defects and regeneration by revealing a new pathway for controlling complex pattern formation. It has long been known that neural networks exploit bioelectric synapses to store and re-write information in the brain.

The findings are detailed in the cover story of the November 2015 edition of the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, appearing online Nov. 24.

Read the full article here.

 

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

*