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Image of the Week: Botryllus organism


It looks like embroidery on a designer item I couldn't possibly hope to afford. But my colleagues assure me the image is actually that of a primitive marine organism described recently in a Science research report. The orange, petal-looking objects are each a single Botryllus schlosseri organism; the orange spots are the new Botryllus buds, which are produced asexually.

This tiny sea creature is of interest because it is evolutionarily one of the closest living relatives of vertebrates. And, as my colleague recently explained, a better understanding of its immune system may offer insights about ours.

Previously: Ocean organism settles down, digests its proto-brain and loses its individuality
Via Christopher Vaughan
Photo by Chris Patton

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