Regeneration is one of the great mysteries of biology. Planarians are flatworms capable of dramatic feats of regeneration, which have been studied for over 2 centuries. Recent findings identify key cellular and molecular principles underlying these feats. A stem cell population (neoblasts) generates new cells and is comprised of pluripotent stem cells (cNeoblasts) and fate-specified cells (specialized neoblasts). Positional information is constitutively active and harbored primarily in muscle, where it acts to guide stem cell-mediated tissue turnover and regeneration. I describe here a model in which positional information and stem cells combine to enable regeneration.
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