A convenient lab model
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Par en May 2017
Macrostomum Lignano was discovered in 1995 on a beach bordering the city of Lignano (Italy). Its natural habitat is the high-tide interstitial sand fauna of the Northern Adriatic Sea beaches. 
With the support of the Eugene Berezikov team (ERIBA, Netherlands), Macrostomum cultures (NL10 strain) have been introduced in the lab in 2016.
M. lignano is easily maintained in the laboratory using reconstituted seawater in a phyto-incubator at 20°C with a 14 h/10 hour day/night cycle. Worms exclusively feed on the diatom Nitzschia curvilineata (Fig. 1).
Fig. 1. Diatoms Nitzschia curvilineata in petri dish (200x) and long term stock grown on an agarose tube.
M. lignano is a hermaphrodite worm but does not carry out self-fertilization. Adults lay single cell eggs of about 100 μm in diameter that can be injected thus allowing genetic experiments. Embryonic development takes about 5 days until eggs hatch from the eggshell (Fig. 2). The generation time is about 18 days.
Fig. 2. Macrostomum eggs: 1 day egg (left) 5 days egg (middle) and empty eggshell after hatching (left).