text-only page produced automatically by LIFT Text Transcoder Skip all navigation and go to page contentSkip top navigation and go to directorate navigationSkip top navigation and go to page navigation
National Science Foundation Home National Science Foundation - Engineering (ENG)
Engineering Education and Centers (EEC)
design element
EEC Home
About EEC
Funding Opportunities
Awards
News
Events
Discoveries
Publications
Career Opportunities
COV 2007 Site
ERC Site
Program Evaluations
See Additional EEC Resources
View EEC Staff
ENG Organizations
Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET)
Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI)
Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems (ECCS)
Engineering Education and Centers (EEC)
Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI)
Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP)
Proposals and Awards
Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide
  Introduction
Proposal Preparation and Submission
bullet Grant Proposal Guide
  bullet Grants.gov Application Guide
Award and Administration
bullet Award and Administration Guide
Award Conditions
Other Types of Proposals
Merit Review
NSF Outreach
Policy Office
Additional EEC Resources
ERC Website: Description of each ERC and summaries of their achievements.
Other Site Features
Special Reports
Research Overviews
Multimedia Gallery
Classroom Resources
NSF-Wide Investments

Email this pagePrint this page


Press Release 06-112
Flatworms at Forefront of Regeneration Research

Scientists identify gene required for flatworms to maintain their stem cells

Researchers recently identified a key gene that maintains stem cells in planaria.

Researchers recently identified a key gene that maintains stem cells in planaria.
Credit and Larger Version

August 7, 2006

Researchers have identified a gene in planaria--freshwater flatworms renowned for their regenerative abilities--that is key for maintenance of their stem cells. Because planarian stem cells share characteristics with those of humans, the work will aid scientists striving to understand how stem cells can be used to completely repair damaged tissues and organs.

Planaria have been studied for hundreds of years, but modern genomic techniques have given scientists new ways to delve into the molecular biology underlying planarian regeneration.Accordingly, Phillip Newmark and his colleagues at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) used a technique called "RNA interference" to stop a particular gene from producing its encoded protein.Without the protein, the planaria's stem cell population died out, and they lost the ability to regenerate.Now researchers will see if the gene plays a similar role in stem cells from other organisms.

All animals contain stem cells, which are unique because they have no specialized function but can mature into almost any cell type and do almost any job the body requires. In planaria, stem cells are responsible for the animal's ability to regenerate its entire body, even from small very small bits. Planaria are popular for introductory biology experiments because if one is chopped in half, two grow back.In fact, only 1/279th of a planarian is needed to regenerate a complete worm.

Newmark is a CAREER awardee, a National Science Foundation program designed to support the early career-development of those researcher-educators who are deemed most likely to become the academic leaders of the 21st century.

Newmark's work was published in the August issue of Developmental Cell and featured in an August 7 UIUC press release.

-NSF-

Media Contacts
Richard (Randy) Vines, NSF, (703) 292-7963, rvines@nsf.gov
James Kloeppel, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 217-244-1073, kloeppel@uiuc.edu

Program Contacts
Judith E. Plesset, NSF, (703) 292-8417, jplesset@nsf.gov

Principal Investigators
Phillip Newmark, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 217-244-4674, pnewmark@uiuc.edu

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2014, its budget is $7.2 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $593 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

 Get News Updates by Email 

Useful NSF Web Sites:
NSF Home Page: http://www.nsf.gov
NSF News: http://www.nsf.gov/news/
For the News Media: http://www.nsf.gov/news/newsroom.jsp
Science and Engineering Statistics: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/
Awards Searches: http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/

 

border=0/


Email this pagePrint this page
Back to Top of page