The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 46: 39 - 48 (2002)

Vol 46, Issue 1

Special Issue: Developmental Biology in Switzerland

Cnidarians as a model system for understanding evolution and regeneration

Published: 1 January 2002

Brigitte Galliot and Volker Schmid

Department of Zoology and Animal Biology, University of Geneva, Switzerland.


Hydra and Podocolyne are two cnidarian animals which provide complementary advantages for analysing developmental mechanisms possibly reflecting the basic developmental processes shared by most bilaterians. Interestingly, these mechanisms remain accessible all along the life of these animals, which bud and regenerate, whatever their age. The Hydra polyp permits a direct study of the molecular cascades linking amputation to regeneration. Podocoryne displays a complete life cycle, polyp and medusa stages with a fast and inducible sexual cycle and an unparalleled In vitro transdifferentiation potential. In both cases, a large number of evolutionarily conserved molecular markers are available, and analysis of their regulation highlights the molecular mechanisms which underly pattern formation in these two species.

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