Hydra, a primitive metazoan, has a simple structure consisting of a head, body column, and foot aligned along a single oral-aboral axis. The body column has a high capacity for regeneration of both the head and foot. Because of the tissue dynamics that take place in adult Hydra, the processes governing axial patterning are continuously active to maintain the form of the animal. Regeneration in hydra is morphallactic and closely related to these axial patterning processes. As might be expected, analysis at the molecular level indicates that the same set of genes are involved in head regeneration and the maintenance of the head in the context of the tissue dynamics of the adult. The genes analyzed so far play roles in axial patterning processes in bilaterians.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.