Salamanders Inspire Limb Re-growth?


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            Humans and salamanders are definitely not species that one usually identifies together. They are quite different in most aspects, except for a potentially life-changing gene that appears in both us and the amphibians.

            This article explains the concept a lot better than I can:

"The gene, called TGF-beta 1, controls the generation and movement of new cells, and allows the [salamander] to regrow complex structures like limbs, tail, jaw, spinal cord and even parts of its brain.

Humans also have this gene. The difference is that in humans, instead of telling a limb to regenerate, the gene tells the wounded area to heal and form a scar. If scientists can find a way to manipulate TGF-beta in humans, it could lead to the ability to regrow organs and limbs, as well as treatments for spinal cord injury and severe burns."

            It would be amazing if the science behind the gene could actually be perfected and allow humans to recover from sever injuries or loss of limbs. There is also a project, which is currently privately funded, called the "The Regeneration Project." The project will "work with adult human stem cells - the building blocks of self-renewal that exist within our brain, bone marrow and blood - with scientists who study how tissues and limbs develop in a variety of organisms."
            More information on the project and how it could work can be found here. I really suggest reading it, it is very interesting.

1 Comment

Kelsie - This is quite interesting. I believe that this could be very beneficial to many individuals including people with birth defects, people involved in serious accidents, and veterans coming home from wars.

I know that stem cell research is very controversial, but it would be very amazing if it was possible to regrow certain body parts to make our lives easier.

The only down side is that we could be turning ourselves into aliens - what happens if we grow two wrists on one arm? Could we grow more than one brain? How smart would someone be with two brains, or would they have problems remembering things due to different memories or facts being 'stored' on different brains?

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