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Robert Buchanan


PROBLEM: If trisected, which piece of a planarian will regenerate first?

HYPOTHESIS: If trisected, then the anterior will regenerate first.


Planaria are a type of flatworm, which can reproduce sexually. Unlike
other organisms, planaria are hermaphrodites, which means they have gonads,
both the males and the females. The penis fertilizes the eggs inside of the
ovaries to create baby planarians. Once the new planarians are born, they
have 2 of the parents genes. The new flatworm is genetically diverse, which
means that the genes are different from one another. However, if a planaria
were to reproduce asexually, then the genes would be similar. This is how a
planarian reproduces sexually.

Along with planaria producing sexually, they may also produce
asexually when times are less than ideal. A planarian reproduces asexually by
tail dropping. During asexual reproduction, the tail falls apart from the body
and both sections grow into a new healthy planarian. Both planarians contain
the genes of the original organism. The new planarian is a clone of the
previous planarian, but the new planarian does not have the same phenotype.
The planarians regrow because of neoblasts, which are non-specialized cells
inside of a planarian. The neoblasts can eventually become a specialized cell
and carry out any cell function.

Planaria are able to reproduce asexually through the process of
regeneration. 30% of all the cells in a planarian contain neoblasts. Neoblasts
are totipotent cells or cells, which can do any job in the body, like human stem
cells. The neoblasts have a chance to become any type of cell the body needs. If
a planarias tail falls off, then the neoblasts migrate to the spot and
regeneration happens. For instance, a neoblast may become a red blood cell or
any other differentiated cell. In 15 minutes, the first sign of regeneration can
be seen. After a while, the part of the planarian has become a new planarian
with a complete body and life functions. Before we started our lab, I
hypothesized that the anterior would regenerate first. I believe this because of
how hard it must be to regenerate the eyes, and the oscelli cells.



In this lab we trisected a planarian. I hypothesized that the anterior
would regenerate first out of the mid section, anterior, and posterior. My data
shows by day 9, the anterior was fully grown, while the mid section and
posterior were yet to grow to completely. Plus, the anterior had less ghost
cells while the posterior and mid section had more. 50%, or 7/14, anterior
pieces regenerated first inside of our class. However, 37%, or 29/78, of the
anterior pieces in the 7
grade regenerated first while the mid section took
the cake with 49%. In conclusion, planarian will regenerate when trisected
and the mid section will regenerate first.


My results for the planaria lab were valid compared to the class,
however the majority of the 7
grade had the midsection growing first. I
believe that my results might not have been valid compared to seventh grade
because the midsection in my lab was not growing that much at all. This
means that the midsection might have died midway through the lab. The
whole 7
grade had 49% of the midsections grow first, and only 37% of the
anteriors grow first. This is a major change from period 7. Period 7 had 50%
of the anteriors grow first, and only 43% of the midsections grow first. Also,
my group did not cut the planarian into equal lengths, so it would have been
more difficult for the midsection of the planarian to grow. If all the groups cut
their planarian into equal lengths then the data would be more conclusive and
reliable. If I were to restart the planarian lab from scratch, then I would have
trisected the planarian into equal pieces, so each planarian had an equal start.
Anterior Mid Section Posterior



2014 Planaria Regeneration Data
7th Period
7th Grade
Even though there are multiple similarities between neoblasts, and
human stem cells, there are also differences. Neoblasts are different from
stem cells because neoblasts can create new life forms when dissected, while
human stem cells cannot. Human stem cells only repair and grow unlike the
neoblasts, which can grow new limbs and body parts. The primary job of stem
cells is to repair damaged or killed cells, and to grow an embryo in a human
while the embryo is in the mothers womb. The similarities between neoblasts
and human stem cells are that both are used to repair damaged tissues. For
example, if a human skins his knee, the human stem cells can become skin
cells and repair the damaged part of the human. Similar to this, a neoblast may
do the same if a part of the planarian is injured. In conclusion, neoblasts and
human stem cells have various different similarities and differences.

There is less controversy over stem cell research because the new ways
to retrieve stem cells have changed dramatically. It used to be that the only
way to get stem cells was through hES, or human embryonic stem cells. Human
embryos have to be destroyed to obtain the stem cells in hES. This was one of
the main problems about using human embryonic stem cells. Recently, IPS and
STAP have been created to obtain stem cells without the downside of
destroying embryos. STAP stands for stimulus-triggered acquisition of
pluripotency. In STAP, scientists try to use stimulus-triggered acquisition to
get a cell to turn into a stem cell. Scientists do this by using acid baths or other
techniques to get a differentiated cell to turn into a stem cell. However, during
IPS new genes are inserted in a differentiated cell to turn it into a stem cell. In
the end, the controversy over stem cell research has depleted because of the
new and non-embryo killing, ways to retrieve stem cells.


"Human Embryonic Stem Cells." Human Embryonic Stem Cells. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 May

"What Are Stem Cells? - Craig A. Kohn." YouTube. YouTube, 10 Sept. 2013. Web. 08
May 2014.

"How Do Stem Cells Work? IPS and STAP Cells or How to Create Artificial Stem Cells
from Natural Ones." YouTube. YouTube, 31 Jan. 2014. Web. 09 May 2014.