Image of the Day: Our closest invertebrate relative

Credit: Chris Patton/Stanford

This is a picture of a sort of sea creature called Botryllus schlosseri. These tiny little things cluster together into colonies, and live on rocks and seaweed in the ocean. Unlike humans, they can reproduce asexually, and they can also completely regenerate themselves even if there's nothing left except one single blood vessel. Botryllus schlosseri happens to be the closest living invertebrate relative to humans, though, and researchers are hoping that they can learn some things about regeneration, stem cells, and genetics that might lead to more reliable organ transplants, among other things.

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Via Stanford

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