Trichoplax

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Trichoplax adhaerens is the only extant representative of phylum Placozoa, which is a basal group of multicellular animals (metazoa). Trichoplax are very flat creatures around a millimeter in diameter, lacking any organs or internal structures. They have three cellular layers: the top epitheloid layer is made of ciliated "cover cells" flattened toward the outside of the organism, and the bottom layer is made up of cylinder cells which possess cilia used in locomotion and gland cells which lack cilia.[1] Between these layers is the fiber syncytium, a liquid-filled cavity strutted open by star-like fibers.

Trichoplax feed by absorbing food particles—mainly microbes—with their underside. They generally reproduce asexually, by dividing or budding, but can also reproduce sexually. Though Trichoplax has a small genome in comparison to other animals, nearly 87% of its 11,514 predicted protein-coding genes are identifiably similar to known genes in other animals.

Contents

Discovery

Trichoplax was discovered in 1883 by the German zoologist Franz Eilhard Schulze, in a seawater aquarium at the Zoological Institute in Graz, Austria. The generic name is derived from the classical Greek θρίξ (thrix), "hair", and πλάξ (plax), "plate". The specific epithet adhaerens comes from Latin "adherent", reflecting its propensity to stick to the glass slides and pipettes used in its examination.[2]

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