Does a tiny sea creature hold the key to heart regeneration?
When Mark Martindale decided to trace the evolutionary origin of muscle cells, like the ones that form our hearts, he looked in an unlikely place: the genes of animals without hearts or muscles.
In a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the University of Florida scientist and colleagues found genes known to form hearts cells in humans and other animals in the gut of a muscle-less and heartless sea anemone. But the sea anemone isn’t just any sea creature. It has superpower-like abilities: Cut it into many pieces and each piece will regenerate into a new animal.