The Humble Axolotl

From MSNBC: "Scientists are genetically modifying a bizarre looking Mexican salamander [in] the hope its ability to regenerate body parts will one day help human amputees. ... It is a darling of researchers since it can regrow injured limbs, jaws, skin, organs and parts of its brain and spinal chord. ... Humans do repair tissue but they don't repair it perfectly whereas the axolotl under certain injury conditions can go into kind of a mode where they repeat the process of the embryo ... After amputation in salamanders, unlike in humans, blood vessels contract quickly and limit bleeding, skin cells work fast to cover the wound site and form what is called a 'blastema,' a collection of stemlike cells that will eventually become the new body part. ... "Now, as we watch a salamander grow back an arm, we are no longer quite as mystified by how it happens. Soon humans might be able to harness this truly awesome ability ourselves ... [Researchers] speculated it may be only be a decade or two until human parts can be regenerated, salamander-like."


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