Nip off the leg of this little axolotl salamander, and he grows it right back. The beasts' regenerative powers extend to their limbs, skin, jaws, those feathery antler-gills on its head, and even parts of its nervous system and brain. Now the U.S. Department of Defense has allocated $6.25 million to research how it does its thing, and whether we can do the same.
With hundreds of soldiers coming home minus a limb or two, the DoD would dearly like to find an easy solution for regenerating body parts, and the axolotl may well hold the key. Quoted by Reuters, Elly Tanaka, of the Center for Regenerative Therapies in Dresden, says that injured axolotls "can go into kind of a mode where they repeat the process of the embryo," growing body parts again just like they did the first time.
At the Center in Dresden, scientists are mapping the salamander's genome, which is 10 times larger than humans', to contrast their healing strategies with ours. When an axolotl is hurt, its wound is swiftly covered with a stem-cell-like growth, which in time sprouts the new foot, nose, or whatever.
Last year in Scientific American, an article on salamander regeneration predicted it may be "only a decade or two away from a day when we can regenerate human body parts." The axolotl's future is not quite as bright, perhaps; despite its Wolverine-like regenerative abilities, it is seriously threatened with extinction.
Didn't somebody regrow their finger that was chopped of, with new working bone and nerves and all? I may be mistaken but I remember it had something to do with pulverized pig intestines.
I believe you are referring to the guy in Dayton Ohio who regrew the tip of his finger with the help of an extra cellular matrix designed by his brother, using material from a pig.
There is some discussion on weather he would have been able to regrow it on his own or not due to the regenerative properties some people have demonstrated on the tips of the fingers.
They are currently doing more research related to the process used on his, I think with DOD funds.
All of this research is quite interesting and does give a great deal of hope for new technology for the future.
I am interested in the fact that the axolotl genome is so large, I had been unaware of that. Possible the extra commands to turn the cellular differentiation on and off are contained in there along with some extra coding to keep it from going haywire and turning cancerous.
Yeah, plus thats one of the coolest looking animals I've ever seen.
I thought it was a stuffed animal.
OK who's genetically engendering the Pokemon?
That's horrible, that cute little guy probably had all sorts of his limbs cut off again and again, talk about your animal cruelty.
Still that's pretty cool... ^_^;;
Close to extinction... I suppose it does little good to ponder what benefits we might have had from creatures we've already sent down that route... or about the ones like this one currently on its way out that we don't know about.