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Sydney Rogan
CLASS Science 6
DATE April 7, 2014


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

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


Planaria are flatworms that reproduce sexually. In sexual reproduction
there is an exchange of sperm to create an offspring. Planaria can reproduce
sexually with each other and have an offspring with both the parents genes,
but the offspring would also be genetically diverse. Planarians are
hermaphrodites, which means they have both male and female sex organs.
They use gonads, testicles and ovaries, to reproduce sexually to have an
offspring. The egg is fertilized in one of the planaria and they have their egg to
create an offspring.

When conditions are less than ideal, planaria are able to reproduce
asexually. To reproduce asexually only one planaria is required and they can
drop their tail to make a clone. This means that the offspring would have the
same genes as the parent. The tail would regenerate and a new planaria would
be created. Another way to reproduce asexually would be fragmentation,
where a fragment of one planaria is separated from the rest of their body and
that separate piece will regenerate to create another planaria. Planaria can be
cut into many pieces to create more planaria because new tissue is formed
from neoblasts to produce full planaria.

Planaria can reproduce asexually through the process of regeneration.
This happens because 30% of cells in planaria are neoblasts, which are stem
cells that are totipotent. That means that they can regenerate and create any
cell type that they would need. If the tail dropped off the neoblasts would
know to create the tissue for the midsection and the head. Also, these
neoblasts contain polarity, which is head and tail orientation. This means that
if the head was cut off then the planaria will know that it needs to grow
another midsection and tail, not another head. It can tell what cell type and
tissue the planaria needs. These neoblasts will migrate to the wound and it
creates blastema to help make the new tissue to heal the planaria, which
would produce a whole new planaria. I hypothesized that if trisected, then the
midsection would regenerate first. I hypothesized that because I believe that
since it doesnt need to regenerate as much tissue, then it will regenerate the

Rogan, Sydney

Friday, May 23, 2014 1:33:20 PM Pacific Daylight Time



2014 Regeneration Data




50 49

6th Period


7th Grade


Mid Section




In this lab we trisected a planaria and hypothesized which piece of a
planarian would regenerate first. I hypothesized that, if trisected, the
midsection would regenerate first. My data shows by day that the anterior
moved a lot throughout the process and formed many ghost cells that turned
into new, pigmented tissue. However, at the end of the experiment the head
hadnt formed a full posterior (tail) yet. The midsection moved and sometimes
squirmed, but in the end it had grown the most and formed a full anterior
(head) with oracles and ocelli. It had also formed the most ghost cells during
the process. In the end, it was the only full planaria in our petri dish, making
my hypothesis correct that the midsection regenerated the fastest. The
midsection also had a full posterior and all the new ghost cells were
pigmented. My data also shows that the tail only had a small amount of new
tissue formed at the top and bottom of the posterior. Throughout the entire
experiment, the posterior only grew slightly longer and larger. The posteriors
ghost cells also became more pigmented, but mostly the posterior didnt grow.
50% (7 of 14) midsection pieces regenerated the fastest. Using my data and
the data from the entire class and grade, I can conclude that my hypothesis
was right 100% of the time. In all of 7th grade, the most regenerated pieces
were the midsection pieces, which was 49% of the 7th grade. Also keeping in
mind that in my class, the most regenerated pieces were the midsection pieces
as well. In conclusion, planaria will regenerate when trisected and the
midsection will regenerate the fastest.

Rogan, Sydney

Friday, May 23, 2014 1:33:20 PM Pacific Daylight Time



Each day, I studied and sketched the trisected planaria to watch and see
how long it would take each piece to regenerate. My results were valid
because I sketched the planaria accurately each day, writing notes about
where new tissue and ghost cells had formed. It was difficult to control how
equal we cut the planaria in the beginning. I think what would make the data
more accurate would be to wait until the planaria is straight and cut it exactly
equally. This will ensure that they are equal pieces and that will give a more
accurate answer of which piece would regenerate first. Also, this would help
any study, but I think that it would help to have more planaria so that there
would be an even bigger experiment. It was also difficult to control how much
the anterior moved, and that made it hard to sketch the head and see if it had
grown any new tissue. If any of the results were not accurate it would be
because someone had possibly contaminated the water, or cut the planaria
unequally, or their planaria could have died and they would have to use
another groups data. Also, the group could have confused the posterior with
the midsection and sketched the pieces inaccurately. Our group had many
observations about each pieces ghost cells. The new tissue in our observations
could have influenced the outcome of our test results. There could have been
new tissue in the anterior and posterior more than we realized. Our group
noticed how much the midsection grew over the days of our experiment.
Overall, I believe that our group had mostly accurate data, including our
sketches, notes, and studies.

Neoblasts in planaria and human stem cells are different from each
other and similar. Neoblasts in planaria will migrate to the wound and form
any cell they need to regenerate the rest of the body. These neoblasts are
totipotent, which means they can form any cell type the planaria needs to fully
regenerate, but human stem cells work differently. Human stem cells are
multipotent. This means that the cells can develop into more than one cell
type, but are much more limited than totipotent and pluripotent cells. The
human stem cells get a signal when there is a wound to repair the wound, but
they cannot regenerate. Stem cells are located in many other tissue from bone
marrow including, brain, blood, blood vessels, muscle, skin, teeth, heart, gut,
and liver. Stem cells in humans are undifferentiated. This is true because
niche cells send signals to keep stem cells from differentiating. Once the niche
cell is removed from around the stem cells, the stem cell will either
differentiate or die. Each niche would be specialized for the tissue it is in.
When the stem cells receive a signal, the stem cells divide and one copy stays
in the niche and the other copy becomes a neuron. Human stem cells only
repair the wound, but they cannot regenerate whole body parts. Planaria can
regenerate whole body parts because of the totipotency in the neoblasts.
Planaria and human cells are still similar because they both can repair
wounds on the body. However, in all the human body is much more limited to

Rogan, Sydney

Friday, May 23, 2014 1:33:20 PM Pacific Daylight Time


what they can fix when the body is injured. This is the reason that humans
cannot regenerate body parts, but planaria can.

Stem cell research is gathered from scientists using hES cells to carry
out experiments. Sadly these hES cells are embryonic cells, which is a topic
that is extremely controversial and poses many questions about the value of
human life. This topic is controversial because to carry out their research, the
ending result is the destruction of an embryo. Some people consider that
murder, and were immediately against this source of research. The protest
against this research resulted in the government limiting scientists to 70
experiments on embryos a year. However, the reason that there is less
controversy on the subject of stem cell research is because scientists
discovered a way to make normal body cells act like embryonic cells.
Scientists also run experiments using iPS and STAP cells, but they arent ideal.
Scientists prefer to use hES cells, but iPS and STAP cells are sufficient
replacements for scientists experiments.

Rogan, Sydney

Friday, May 23, 2014 1:33:20 PM Pacific Daylight Time