Scientists Have Made Worms With Heads Resembling Other Species

Wednesday, November 25, 2015 - 15:00 in Biology & Nature

Girardia dorotocephala Screenshot from YouTube video by Masatsugu Yamazaki The flatworm girardia dorotocephala has a pretty characteristic head shape: it’s almost a perfect triangle (the sides of its face slope into a point and ear-like appendages called auricles jut out from either side). Now scientists have figured out how to drastically change this flatworm's head shape to resemble totally different species of worms. Even more astounding, this is possible without altering the animal's DNA. The researchers revealed their fascinating findings in a study published yesterday in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. The work isn't purely helpful for understanding flatworm biology, it could also help with human medicine. By understanding similar changes in people, scientists could learn how to correct birth defects, or help the body regenerate after an injury, according to a...

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