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Brittlestar Provides New Model For Stem Cell Research

Date:
April 8, 2006
Source:
Society for Experimental Biology
Summary:
The brittlestar Amphiura filiformis is a close relative of the starfish and can regenerate lost arms in a matter of weeks. Sam Dupont and Mike Thorndyke from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Kristineberg Marine Research Station will explain how this animal could be used as a new model for studying stem cells, allowing them to do experiments that avoid the ethical issues associated with human and vertebrate research.

A brittlestar of the genus Ophioderma collected on Eau Gallie Reef.
Credit: Image courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Scientists at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Kristineberg Marine Research Station are using the brittlestar as a new model for studying stem cells, allowing them to do experiments that avoid the ethical issues associated with human and vertebrate research. The brittlestar, Amphiura filiformis, is a close relative of the starfish and can regenerate lost arms in a matter of weeks. Sam Dupont and Mike Thorndyke are presenting their latest work on Friday 7th April at the Annual Meeting for the Society for Experimental Biology [session A8].

"What is really amazing is that the nervous system starts to be functional only a few days after the beginning of regeneration", says Dr Sam Dupont, "It is a more realistic model for stem cell biology because we can study the cells in the living organism, not just in culture in the lab."

The researchers are particularly interested in studying the recovery of the nervous system which could have possible applications in the future for understanding and treating neurodegenerative diseases. Using the brittlestar as a model is particularly useful as it is more closely related to vertebrates than previous models with extensive regeneration capabilities such as Hydra.


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The above story is based on materials provided by Society for Experimental Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for Experimental Biology. "Brittlestar Provides New Model For Stem Cell Research." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 April 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060407151239.htm>.
Society for Experimental Biology. (2006, April 8). Brittlestar Provides New Model For Stem Cell Research. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060407151239.htm
Society for Experimental Biology. "Brittlestar Provides New Model For Stem Cell Research." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060407151239.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

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