UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
Home
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Webcasts
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
What role does DNA play in the regeneration of starfish? Which genes? And how?
Question Date: 2017-10-30
Answer 1:

Any time a cell divides, it makes more DNA for the new cell. So, when a starfish loses a leg for example, it creates copies of its DNA for each new cell that grows to replace it.

Any cell that exists makes itself according to the instructions of its DNA. So, many different genes are used to make new starfish parts. For example, when regenerating part of a digestive tract, the cells that are newly formed will use the genes that correspond to making a cell for the digestive tract.

Every cell contains the exact same DNA, but just different parts of the blueprint are used for each cell type. When the starfish first loses a limb, it responds by releasing growth hormones and what are called "heat shock proteins." These trigger the same genes that are used when the starfish is first developing, and it reads the DNA blueprint to decide what the new cells that form should differentiate into.


Thanks!


Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2017 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use