And Then There Were Three…: Extreme Regeneration Ability of the Solitary Chordate Polycarpa mytiligera

Tal Gordon*, Arnav Kumar Upadhyay, Lucia Manni, Dorothee Huchon, Noa Shenkar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Extensive regenerative ability is a common trait of animals capable of asexual development. The current study reveals the extraordinary regeneration abilities of the solitary ascidian Polycarpa mytiligera. Dissection of a single individual into separate fragments along two body axes resulted in the complete regeneration of each fragment into an independent, functional individual. The ability of a solitary ascidian, incapable of asexual development, to achieve bidirectional regeneration and fully regenerate all body structures and organs is described here for the first time. Amputation initiated cell proliferation in proximity to the amputation line. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated the close affinity of P. mytiligera to colonial species. This evolutionary proximity suggests the ability for regeneration as an exaptation feature for colonial lifestyle. P. mytiligera’s exceptional regenerative abilities and phylogenetic position highlight its potential to serve as a new comparative system for studies seeking to uncover the evolution of regeneration and coloniality among the chordates.

Original languageEnglish
Article number652466
JournalFrontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
StatePublished - 15 Apr 2021


FundersFunder number
Inter-University Institute
National Center for Mariculture
Yitzhak Navon
European Cooperation in Science and TechnologyCA 16203
Università degli Studi di Padova
Israel Science Foundation161/15, 730984
Tel Aviv University


    • Polycarpa
    • cell proliferation
    • evolution
    • phylogeny
    • regenerative biology
    • tunicates


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