The Evolutionary History of Regeneneration
In order to understand both the mechanisms and evolutionary history of regeneration, in the Srivastava lab I focus on an acoel worm, the three banded panther worm Hofstenia miamia. Acoels are members of the sister group to the rest of the Bilateria (see pic above), providing a powerful phylogenetic position to understand the evolution and development of the process of whole-body regeneneration
Hofstenia is capable of whole-body regeneration, and lays accessible embryos
Hofstenia lay fertilized eggs that hatch at ~day 9, providing a constant supply of embryos year round. With access to eggs, I am currently attempting to develop transgenic technology to understand both how regulatory
A functional genomics approach to the evolution of regeneration
The flatworm Schmidtea and the acoel Hofstenia accomplish axial polarity decision (making a head vs. a tail) during regeneration using very similar developmental networks (Srivastava et al, 2014). Were these pathways independently co-opted, or are they the result of shared ancestry? In order to answer this question, I aim to understand the regulatory landscapes that control major polarity decision genes (e.g. Wnt). By comparing regulatory networks in Schmidtea and Hofstenia, I hope to understand if the common networks that are utilized during regeneration are the result of homology or convergence.
ATAC-seq on a Hofstenia adult reveals potential regulatory regions surrounding a frizzled gene