Bright Worms Can Shine on the Secrets of the New Birth


In 1961, Osamu Shimomura and Frank Johnson isolated the protein from the jellyfish itself green green under UV light. Corals, too, can germinate in different colors, due to the same protein. Now scientists at Harvard University have modified the genetic mutation of a three-dimensional worm to make the creature emit the same green light, according to new paper published in journals Development Cell. Their hope is to reveal the secrets of rebirth.

Many animals show other changes: hair transplantation, for example, braiding a broken bone in the back. But other creatures can perform incredible feats of change, and studying how they accomplish this can have a profound effect on human aging. If the salamander loses its leg, the branch will sprout again. Zebra fish can regenerate lost or damaged fins, as well as repair damaged heart, retina, pancreas, brain, or spinal cord. Cut the planarian flatworm worm, jellyfish, or sea anemone in half, and regenerate its entire body.

Then there are the three kinds of worms (Hofstenia miamia), a small mammal that looks like a mass of rice, cited as having three green stripes on its body. If the panther worm is cut into three parts, each part produces a worm within eight weeks. The worms are found mainly in the Caribbean, the Bahamas, and Bermuda, as well as in Japan, and they are ferocious animals, not biting slightly from other worms if they are hungry and cannot find other animals. . They also offer a new and reliable way to learn flexible machines.

Coauthor Mansi Srivastava, a biologist at Harvard University, has been studying three-dimensional worms since 2010, when he was a postdoc expert at Peter Reddien’s lab at MIT’s Whitehead Institute. He collected 120 worms from Bermuda and shipped them to Cambridge. The worms did not interfere with the life of the laboratory at once: Srivastava and Reddien had to determine the correct levels of their salts and get a healthy diet. The worms do not care about the liver Reddien was feeding its larvae of planarian flatworms, and few began to eat people to survive. Later, the researchers found that panther worms are popular shrimp salt (aka sea ​​monkeys), and the creatures began to grow and breed.

A 1960 report stated that the worms could regenerate their beheaded heads, but there was little scientific research. Previous experiments by Reddien and Srivastava confirmed that panther worms not only expand their heads, they also repair any part of the body, such as planarian planets — even though the two are closely related. Srivastava now runs his laboratory at Harvard studying rebirth in panther worms.

In 2019, Srivastava and his lab released a panther worm, as well as a number of DNA “switches” that seem to regulate gene expression. Specifically, he referred to the part of the unknown DNA that acts as a type of mutant “master control gene”, called early growth response (EGR), is activated. EGR can also activate, switch on or off other genes involved in various processes. If EGR is not opened, worm rebirth will not occur.



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