Evolution of the Regenerative Properties in Crayfish
Regeneration is the biological mechanism whereby organisms restore lost or damaged cells. This process can be used to replace organs, tissues and limbs on a small to large scale. Each type of regeneration requires different amounts of energy, resources and time. Orconectus rusticus (crayfish), compete for food, survival and mating. They have large claws that are vitally important in competition and survival. This species has developed the ability to regenerate these claws over time if they are lost or damaged. The motives and forms of regeneration in crayfish have evolved due to many factors. The effects that regeneration has are linked to the various needs that have evolved in the organism. The ability to regenerate cells exists in almost all organisms to different degrees. The ability to regenerate body parts is a more challenging process but is shared by Planarians, Annelids, some amphibians, most lizards, and many arthropods. This characteristic has evolved in such a variety of species mainly through convergent evolution. It is difficult to establish clear rules for regeneration ability among a larger diversity of organisms (Agata & Inoue 2012). In each phylum from sponges to mammals, there are regenerative species present (Agata & Inuoe 2012). A more challenging aspect of studying regeneration is the different levels at which it can occur. Many organisms regenerate entire bodies, limbs, organs, skin, hair and nails. Others have little or no regenerative properties. Regeneration is mostly found at higher rates in organisms at immature life stages. In crayfish, the anterior claws and legs can regenerate over time because they are not weight-carrying structures. Regeneration is extremely important and may prolong the lifespan of injured crayfish. The process of regenerating a limb is carried out through the many molting cycles of the exoskeleton. Each time the crayfish molts, it sheds its...
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