, Volume 217, Issue 2, pp 89-104,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 05 Dec 2006

Free-living flatworms under the knife: past and present

Abstract

Traditionally, regeneration research has been closely tied to flatworm research, as flatworms (Plathelminthes) were among the first animals where the phenomenon of regeneration was discovered. Since then, the main focus of flatworm regeneration research was on triclads, for which various phenomena were observed and a number of theories developed. However, free-living flatworms encompass a number of other taxa where regeneration was found to be possible. This review aims to display and to compare regeneration in all major free-living flatworm taxa, with special focus on a new player in the field of regeneration, Macrostomum lignano (Macrostomorpha). Findings on the regeneration capacity of this organism provide clues for links between regeneration and (post-)embryonic development, starvation, and asexual reproduction. The role of the nervous system and especially the brain for regeneration is discussed, and similarities as well as particularities in regeneration among free-living flatworms are pointed out.

Communicated by R.J. Sommer