MBL Research Scientist Margherita Perillo and collaborators reveal in detail the initiation and early stages of tube formation in the sea star.

The humble sea star is an ancient marine creature that possibly goes back about 480 million years. They are beloved in touch tanks in aquariums for their celestial shape, spongy skin, and arm suckers. These beautiful five-limbed echinoderms are also helping scientists figure out a crucial life process called tubulogenesis. 

study published May 9 in the journal Nature Communications, examined this process of hollow tube formation in sea stars that provides a blueprint for how the organs of other creatures develop.

Tubulogenesis is the formation of various kinds of hollow, tube-like structures in the body. These tubes eventually form blood vessels, digestive tracts, and even complex organs like the heart, kidneys and mammary glands. It is a basic and crucial process that occurs in the embryo stage, and abnormalities during these processes can cause dysfunctional, displaced, or non-symmetrical organs and even regeneration defects in structures like blood vessel. Read rest of the article here.

Source: The blueprints for early organs may be hiding in sea stars | Popular Science