Welcome to the Macrostomum Research Net!
Macrostomum lignano is a small, transparent, non-parasitic marine flatworm feeding on the diatom Nitzschia curvilineata in laboratory cultures. Since its discovery in the Adriatic Sea in 1995 by a research group from the University of Innsbruck, led by Prof. Reinhard Rieger, cultures of Macrostomum lignano were continuously maintained in the lab. As a new model organism for developmental and stem cell biology, it is easy to keep, easy to colour and easy to cut.
Adult animals measure about 1-1.5 mm in length and about 150 µm in width, with a total cell number of about 25,000 cells. The simultaneous hermaphrodites lay approximately one egg per day if well-fed. At 20 °C, the initially spiral-cleaving embryos develop for about five days until hatching. Postembryonic development to sexually mature adults takes about two weeks. Freshly hatched juveniles are just 200 µm long and possess ca. 3,000 cells. Staining of neoblasts (likely totipotent stem cells) is possible by soaking the whole animals in solutions containing thymidine analogs, e.g. BrdU.