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5 thoughts on “An interview with Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado”

  1. Just for the sake of clarity and because Alejandro Sanchez Alvarado seems to have a genuine interest in the History of Science, let me ammend and tell in more precise terms his ‘history’ on how the Barcelona planarians first came to Baltimore, and the whereabouts of the second trip of Barcelona planarians to the States. First of all, it is important to state that when Phil Newmark met Sanchez Alvarado in York (1996), he was (1995-96) a postdoc in my lab at the Department of Genetics in the University of Barcelona. There, we worked with planarians, namely with the american species Girardia tigrina and with a native planarian found in Bsrcelona, and described and characterized in our lab from the 1970s: the asexual Schmidtea mediterranea (at that time known as Dugesia(S)mediterranea). We studied regeneration, and Phil came to Barcelona to learn the basics because at that time, and strangely unknown to Sanchez Alvarado (he only used PubMed), the Barcelona lab was the best in the world as regards planarian regeneration. Back to the States (late 1996) Phil brought a sample of sexual S.mediterranea (from Sardinia) we kindly gave to him. Now, I learn this sample died out a year later or so from infection or whatever. So, they travelled to Barcelona to catch new specimens of the asexual race without telling/warning, as far as I know, anyone from the Barcelona lab. This is quite odd. It seems these guys were so-well educated they did not dare to bother us. Who knows. So, this strange story of fountains, liver, raining, hotels, taxis, and so on could have been easily skipped just by asking us to send them a new batch of animals, safely kept in coolers. For many, many years, I’ve sent hundreds of planarians to lots of labs and researchers around the world.

    Said that, I’m glad the story ended well. They set a good lab, did a nice job, established S.mediterranea as a model system, and made flourish in the then barren land of american planarian regeneration a handful of nice and very productive groups.

    Just so stories are nice and funny, but the real ‘history’ needs to be stated in more precise terms to make it clearer to potential readers. Thanks a lot.

  2. What do you mean by ‘hidden due to low comment rating’? Do you know what in percentage means 25 positive comments out of a total of 56: 44,6%, close to 50% which means half. Do you qualify this as ‘low’? For God’s sake! This is pure censorship. I’m sure some in The Node has spanish ancestors going back to ‘El Gran Inquisidor’. Pity.

  3. Hi Jaume,
    Apologies for this. When we set up the Node, we decided that – as a community site – it would be more appropriate for the community to moderate comments than to do so ourselves. We therefore set up a system whereby if a comment got a certain number or proportion (I forget which!) of negative ratings, it would be automatically hidden (though interested readers can still access it by clicking on the link). We envisaged this primarily for irrelevant or spam-like comments (that got through our spam filter) and only very rarely has this system been triggered for genuine and valuable comments like yours. We will need to go in and look at our systems to see if there is a way of unhiding your comment, or if we should just re-think our current set-up.
    Thanks for pointing this out and apologies again!


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