Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado

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We have developed a portable and easily configurable genome annotation pipeline called MAKER. Its purpose is to allow investigators to independently annotate eukaryotic genomes and create genome databases. MAKER identifies repeats, aligns ESTs and proteins to a genome, produces ab initio gene predictions, and automatically synthesizes these data into gene(More)
We have identified two genes, smedwi-1 and smedwi-2, expressed in the dividing adult stem cells (neoblasts) of the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. Both genes encode proteins that belong to the Argonaute/PIWI protein family and that share highest homology with those proteins defined by Drosophila PIWI. RNA interference (RNAi) of smedwi-2 blocks(More)
After amputation, freshwater planarians properly regenerate a head or tail from the resulting anterior or posterior wound. The mechanisms that differentiate anterior from posterior and direct the replacement of the appropriate missing body parts are unknown. We found that in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea, RNA interference (RNAi) of beta-catenin or(More)
Regeneration is widespread throughout the animal kingdom, but our molecular understanding of this process in adult animals remains poorly understood. Wnt/β-catenin signaling plays crucial roles throughout animal life from early development to adulthood. In intact and regenerating planarians, the regulation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling functions to maintain(More)
Planarians have been a classic model system for the study of regeneration, tissue homeostasis, and stem cell biology for over a century, but they have not historically been accessible to extensive genetic manipulation. Here we utilize RNA-mediated genetic interference (RNAi) to introduce large-scale gene inhibition studies to the classic planarian system.(More)
Metazoan regeneration is one of the least understood fundamental problems of biology. The lack of progress in understanding this phenomenon at the molecular level has been due to the poor regenerative abilities of the genetic organisms used for developmental studies, as well as the difficulties encountered with molecular and genetic manipulations of the(More)
The Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway plays multiple essential roles during metazoan development, homeostasis, and disease. Although core protein components are highly conserved, the variations in Hh signal transduction mechanisms exhibited by existing model systems (Drosophila, fish, and mammals) are difficult to understand. We characterized the Hh pathway(More)
Why does regeneration occur? And why, when it manifests itself, does it do so in some but not all metazoan species? Hence, what are the permissive or inhibitory factors operating behind this phenomenon? When it comes to regeneration, many questions, such as these, remain unanswered. In fact, the problem of animal regeneration has withstood the probing of(More)
Platyhelminthes are excellent models for the study of stem cell biology, regeneration and the regulation of scale and proportion. In addition, parasitic forms infect millions of people worldwide. Therefore, it is puzzling that they remain relatively unexplored at the molecular level. We present the characterization of approximately 3,000 non-redundant cDNAs(More)
Significant progress has recently been made in our understanding of animal regenerative biology, spurred on by the use of a wider range of model organisms and an increasing ability to use genetic tools in traditional models of regeneration. This progress has begun to delineate differences and similarities in the regenerative capabilities and mechanisms(More)