… but well, it’s Friday night … From LiveScience:
Call them Franken flatworms. Scientists have created worms with the heads and brains of other species just by manipulating cell communication.
The research is an example of how development is controlled by more than genetics alone. The researchers did not alter the flatworms’ DNA in any way, but instead manipulated proteins that control conversations between cells.
The heads go back to normal after a few weeks.
“These findings raise significant questions about how genes and bioelectric networks interact to build complex body structures,” Levin said. If genes provide a blueprint for an organism’s body, cells are like the construction workers required to turn the plan into a structure — and gap junctions are the walkie-talkies these workers use to communicate. Disrupt the communications, and you can disrupt the building process. More.
So much for “You are your genes,” right?
See also: Pond hydra can modify its own genetic program. But then this is the same life form that can reassemble from a small piece, and lose all its neurons but live.
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