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Planarians are freshwater flatworms that have powerful abilities to regenerate their bodies, which would seem to make them natural model organisms in which to study stem cells. But until recently, scientists had not been able to efficiently find the genes that regulate the planarian stem cell system.
In this image, a single stem cell has given rise to a colony of stem cells in a planarian. Proliferating cells are red, and differentiating cells are blue. Quantitatively measuring the size and ratios of these two cell types provides a powerful framework for studying the roles of stem cell regulatory genes in planarians.
From a Whitehead Institute news release, "Planarian genes that control stem cell biology identified."
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