Scientists have discovered the cell that can regenerate a flatworm
KANSAS CITY MO — Researchers from the Stowers Institute for Medical Research captured the single cell capable of regenerating a whole organism. Scientists have been observing the amazing effects of this cell marvel for over a hundred years. It allows creatures like the planarian flatworm, to do death-defying feats such as regrowing their severed heads. They lacked tools to track and target this cell so that they could observe it in action and learn its secrets.
Scientists have now isolated this remarkable regenerative cell, a subtype from the long-studied, adult pluripotent cell, before it performed its remarkable act. These findings, which were published in the issue of Cell dated June 14, 2018, will probably spur biological studies for highly regenerative organisms such as planarians, and inform regenerative medicine initiatives for organisms with less regenerative capability, like humans.
Alejandro Sanchez Alvarado is a senior author and investigator at the Stowers Institute, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and says that this is the first time an adult pluripotent cell has been isolated in a prospective manner. Our finding basically says that this is not an abstract, that there is a cell entity that can restore the regenerative abilities to animals who have lost them and that it can be purified and studied in depth.