FAQ

Where do I buy planarians?

Can the Sánchez Lab send me some reagents?

How long does the complete regeneration of the worms take?

What do planarians eat?

How long do the animals live?

Where are the protocols for planarian maintenance, planarian regeneration observation, whole mount in situ hybridization and RNA interference?

Where are the experimental results published?

What can my students do with common, inexpensive equipment?

Where can I find more information about the biological and medical discoveries being made by researchers using planarians?

Where can I find more information about planarians?

Can the Sánchez Lab ship us the Schmidtea mediterranea species of planarians?

How can I contact you to ask questions, send feedback, opinions, suggestions, classroom experiences, results, etc.?

Can we order constructs for specific genes of interest from somewhere?

My students would like to work on a project using RNAi protocols and looking at regeneration and behavior of the treated planarians. What projects wuld you suggest for the students to do?

Can you direct me to a lab that accepts high school students to conduct research on planarian?

How can we image or carefully cut planarians if they move and stretch while under the microscope?



 

Where do I buy planarians?

The planarian species we use can be ordered from Carolina Biological Supply or from Ward's Science. For more details, click on the “Source” tab from within each species page. The species pages can be found in About Our Planarians.

 

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Can the Sánchez Lab send me some reagents?

No, the Sánchez Lab is not providing worms or reagents. All the mentioned worms and materials are commercially available.

 

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How long does the complete regeneration of the worms take?

Worm fragments can completely regenerate by 2 weeks, except P. gracilis whose regeneration requires more than one month.

 

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What do planarians eat?

Planarians eat calf liver, boiled egg yolk, or brine shrimp. For more details, look at Section 1.3: Planarian feeding in the Planarian Maintenance Protocol.

 

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How long do the animals live?

The planarians live as long as they are not killed.  If they are well cared for, they will live indefinitely.

 

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Where are the protocols for planarian maintenance, planarian regeneration observation, whole mount in situ hybridization and RNA interference?

All the protocols and lists of required materials can be found in the sidebar under Protocols.

 

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Where are the experimental results published?

The results of all the proposed experiments are published in...

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What can my students do with common, inexpensive equipment?

The planarian maintenance, feeding and amputation activities can be performed without any specific and/or expensive equipment. These activities are safe for students and teachers. The regeneration of the animals can be followed with a magnifying lens or even a smartphone's camera. For more details, look at Section 1.5: Image acquisition of live worms in the Planarian Maintenance Protocol found in the sidebar.

 

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Where can I find more information about the biological and medical discoveries being made by researchers using planarians?

Here is a list of recent publications from laboratories using planarians to study regeneration and stem cell biology:

 

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Where can I find more information about planarians?

These are a collection of review papers on the topic of planarians and their remarkable biological attributes.

 

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Can the Sánchez Lab ship us the Schmidtea mediterranea species of planarians? 

No. Unfortunately, because S. mediterranea is not endemic to the US, specific regulations about its handling are in place to avoid its accidental propagation in North America, thus limiting the use of S. mediterranea in the classroom.

 

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How can I contact you to ask questions, send feedback, opinions, suggestions, classroom experiences, results, etc.?

Everyone is welcome to contact us at cuttingclass@stowers.org to share any thoughts about the paper, the website, the activities, etc. We are also happy to receive short descriptions of your experiences in performing these or different activities with planarians in your classroom, as well as any photographs and/or movies that you would like to see published on our website.

 

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Can we order constructs for specific genes of interest from somewhere?

Unfortunately, only a few constructs are commercially available in Addgene. Otherwise, so far, there is not the possibility to order anywhere planarian constructs of specific target genes, but you may contact a Biological Laboratory at a University/College close to you and establish a collaboration with them. They may be willing to help you out with those parts of the protocol that require specific reagents or expertise.

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My students would like to work on a project using RNAi protocols and looking at regeneration and behavior of the treated planarians. What projects wuld you suggest for the students to do?

Table 2 in the manuscript attached to the cuttingclass website lists and describes many great activities to choose from.

Beta-catenin RNAi phenotype with the formation of a two-headed worm is strong and reliable and it can be used as a positive control for any RNAi experiments you would like to do.For those interested in behavior assays, planarians actively move away from light sources. This behavior can change when the planarian head or eyes are amputated, or the eyes are malformed. Lapan and Reddien, published a paper in 2009 reporting a list of genes important for eye maintenance, function and regeneration. You can use our site to find orthologs to any of those genes in the planarian species you are working on and interfere with the expression of these genes using  the RNAi protocol. Treated animals can be cut and then observed to determine if they regererate eyes and/or if their behavior is altered.

The same experimental flow can be applied on genes involved in other planarian organs. Many papers have been published on Schmidtea mediterranea, and they can be used to look for interesting potential candidate genes.

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Can you direct me to a lab that accepts high school students to conduct research on planarian?

Unfortunately, researcher placement is beyond the scope of this site. We suggest contacting biomedical research departments at your local university and/or school of medicine. Most institutions have outreach programs in place and are willing to help.

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How can we image or carefully cut planarians if they move and stretch while under the microscope?

You can keep your planarian still for a short time by submerging them in cold planarian water or placing them on a little piece of filter paper moistened with cold planarian water. When you have finished imaging, you can place the piece of paper with the planarian on top of it in water and the planarian will swim away.

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