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Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor
Despite studies performed on many species, including amphibians and insects, the mechanisms regulating limb regeneration remain poorly understood. Hedgehog (Hh) is a major signaling pathway found in most, if not all, animal species, including humans. In vertebrates, Hh signaling has been shown to play key roles during limb regeneration. To determine whether Hedgehog might also play a role during limb regeneration in Tribolium castaneum, Hh signaling was silenced through RNA interference. In normal development, silencing of Hh signaling resulted in alteration of limb morphology. Disruption of Hh signaling during regeneration led to the impairment of blastema growth and subsequent adult limb morphogenesis during metamorphosis. Furthermore, cellular proliferation in the blastema diminished with the silencing of Hh. Our findings indicate that Hh signaling is necessary for regeneration in beetles similar to vertebrates and have broader implications for our understanding of the developmental and evolutionary origins of set-aside cells.