Amphiura filiformis (O. F. Muller, 1776) is a brittle star found on the seabed of the European coasts from Greece to Norway and Sweden including the Baltic Sea . It is an important member of soft bottom communities where it digs a shallow burrow and feeds on plankton. It serves as food for crayfish and finfish. Stemming from its remarkable ability to regenerate arms in a matter of weeks it has become an emerging model for regeneration and stem cell biology in biomedical research. Research targets include: 1) The cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying regeneration with links to neuroscience, stem cell biology and neuropeptide structure and function in the absence of a centralised nervous system. 2) Comparative developmental events involving the evolution of biomineralization in the echinoderm clade. 3) Support for phylogenomic analysis in an otherwise little studied group.
This species has been chosen as a target for genome sequencing at the Linnaeus Centre for Marine Evolutionary Biology under the IMAGO project. Both transcriptome and genome sequencing are in process. The data will be posted here soon.
Aboral views of Amphiura filiformis displaying the sinuous arms and central disc. Evidence of regenerating arms are evident in many places as changes in the coloration of the arms. The upper arm in panel A has three apparent sites of regeneration and the lower has one where the arm thickness changes abruptly.