Starfish are unusual creatures. They follow their own rules. They have no brains, blood, and digest food externally. Additionally, they can regrow body parts and even transform into a new type of starfish.
Starfish and other echinoderms do not have a typical body structure. A new gene expression analysis revealed this fact. It is not the only reason why they are scary, though.
A team of scientists from Stanford University have described how they resemble a moving head that can crawl.
The researchers found that echinoderms are mostly capitate in terms of ectodermal patterning.
Echinoderms include starfish, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, and more.They are often seen in oceans that people visit, so we do not consider them strange.
These animals are unique. These creatures have fivefold body symmetry. Most creatures have left-right symmetry but not them.
According to Jeff Thompson, a biologist at the University of Southampton in the UK, scientists find echinoderms puzzling. They study them yet don’t understand how their body parts relate to other animal groups.
Starfish body looks different from other animals, which have a head, trunk, and tail. You can’t tell how they’re related just by looking at a starfish.
Scientists did a study to know where echinoderms belong in the deuterostomes. This group has vertebrates and echinoderms.
The researchers believed that echinoderms evolved from a shared ancestor. This happened many years ago. They wanted to trace this evolution because deuterostomes are related.
The researchers are studying a kind of starfish named Patiria miniata.
Scientists created a 3D map of gene expression in a starfish’s body as it grows. They used RNA tomography and a technique called in situ hybridization. This technique can pinpoint DNA and RNA sequences in tissue samples.
A group studied some factors in animals that help their body grow. These genes help with the front-to-back development and are also found in starfish. The genes help with arm growth from the middle to the tip.
The paragraph can be made simpler. Some animals with similar growth patterns have genes to create their midsections.
Thompson studied starfish gene expression and discovered they lack something that vertebrates have.Genes usually tied with animal torso pattern were not expressed in the ectoderm. The echinoderm body plan looked like the head of other creatures.
Understanding how echinoderms evolved is difficult from their shape alone. New research suggests they may have lost their ability to develop their bodies as they did before. This loss happened during their long history.
Researchers use modern tools to comprehend themselves and analyze ancient bones.
According to Thompson, we found out that echinoderms’ bodies developed in a more complex way than what we believed. We still have much to learn about these interesting creatures.
My thoughts on these animals have changed after observing them for ten years.
The study was printed in the magazine Nature.