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Regeneration in Planarians

by Alexis Moreno, Staff Writer

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Planaria are flatworms that belong to the kingdom animalia. They live in quiet ponds usually attached to fish hooks that happened to be discarded or stones.

They feed on the bodies of other animals and love the taste of liver. While planaria may be small, these little creatures have a special ability: regeneration.

These organisms exhibit traits of cephalization and have a ganglia near their anterior region to serve as a brain. However, a ganglia is not brain, it is a mass of cells acting as a simple nervous system.

With an acoelomate body (meaning no internal cavity to hold organs) these tiny worms are easily cut in half and sliced down the middle. Because of this planarians created a way to further their species, otherwise they would be close to extinction 

Regeneration seemed to be the safest bet.

In fact, during a process called Transverse Fission the planarian will split itself in half, which is a form of reproduction.

In schools planarians are used to demonstrate regeneration in animals.

“We use the planaria to demonstrate reproduction because they are easiest to work with time-wise. They only take a few days to regenerate the other half of their body and they are easy to contain,” science teacher Alexandria Arnold said.

Regeneration is actually quite; these flatworms have stem cells called “Neoblasts” which regenerate the body part of the planarian.

Humans have stem cells too, however, they do not regenerate body parts like planarias do. Mostly because we have things under our skin. The planarian is a very simple animal. It does not have a lot to regenerate after it is cut off.

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The student news site of McEachern High School in Powder Springs, Georgia
Regeneration in Planarians