If we understood the genes and mechanisms that control regeneration and healing, there is every likelihood we could make the process work in new and better ways - or stop failing as we age. With that in mind, EurekAlert covers research into the genetics of regeneration in planarian worms: "when a gene called smedwi-2 is silenced in the adult stem cells of planarians, the quarter-inch long worm is unable to carry out a biological process that has mystified scientists for centuries: regeneration. ... The smedwi-2 molecule is doing something early in the specification of stem cell progeny that modulates their ability to differentiate into the proper cell type ... How this molecule is modulating stem cells is one of the next steps that he and Reddien are trying to solve. The answer could have far-reaching implications, because genes similar to smedwi-2 are found in plants, animals and human beings."