Want a Whole New Body? Ask This Flatworm How | Deep Look

by birtanpublished on August 24, 2020

thanks to curiosity stream for supporting PBS Digital Studios this goofy little guy is called a planarian sure it's just a flatworm at the bottom of a pond but it has a very special superpower one that scientists would

Love to harness to show you well it's gonna get a little bit slasher movie here okay don't worry it's going to be okay seriously I promise it doesn't even hurt that would be curtains for most

Organisms I mean this piece here is just a chunk with no head and no tail but watch you can see under a microscope that overnight its wound heals closed ok maybe we could do that more slowly of course but then it starts to regenerate

Growing new tissue it's that white part called the blastema in a week see those tiny little spots there new eyes grown from scratch but the planarian can I call it that yet it still kind of looks like a blob by

Day 12 it's starting to look like a proper planarian it's got a head an entirely new one and a new tail and it's doing its regular planarian things like pooping that's because one of the first things that started regrowing was a tube

Called the pharynx which is how things go in and out it sucks up food like this beef liver that scientists are feeding it after three weeks it looks totally

Normal from that one planarian you get four other animals like this newt can regrow a toe or a tail but planarians are practically the only animal that can regrow a head so why can't we do that

Well it all comes down to powerful cells known as stem cells they're the green dots here and they make up 1/5 of a planarian body they can turn into different kinds of cells and make every new body part we only have stem cells to

Act like these when were embryos once we grow up we pretty much lose this ability though doctors have been able to get us to grow back a fingertip but what if we could grow ourselves a new a whole arm or a liver scientists

Are trying to figure out exactly how planarians do it and maybe one day these humble flatworms could inspire new ways to heal our injuries hi it's Lauren again this kind of planarian is from San Francisco those aren't ears they're

Oracle's it uses them to feel around you can tune in to more deep look by following us over to patreon you'll get special members-only benefits like behind-the-scenes peeks and how we make our show link in the description thanks

And see you soon thank you to curiosity stream for supporting PBS Digital Studios curiosity stream is a subscription streaming service that offers documentaries and nonfiction titles from

A variety of filmmakers including curiosity stream originals age of big cats is the untold story of the seven major species of big cats who clawed their way to the top and came to dominate the land you can learn more at

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