A Master Mechanism for Regeneration?

Researchers continue to uncover the biochemistry of regeneration: "Biologists long have marveled at the ability of some animals to re-grow lost body parts. Newts, for example, can lose a leg and grow a new one identical to the original. Zebrafish can re-grow fins. These animals and others also can repair damaged heart tissue and injured structures in the eye. In contrast, humans have only rudimentary regenerative abilities, so scientists hoping eventually to develop ways of repairing or replacing damaged body parts are keenly interested in understanding in detail how the process of regeneration works. Using zebrafish as a model, researchers [have] found that some of the same genes underlie the process in different types of tissues. Genes involved in fin regeneration and heart repair are also required for rebuilding damaged light receptors in the eye, they found, suggesting that a common molecular mechanism guides the process, no matter what body part is damaged." A common mechanism, if confirmed, would mean that the task of introducing this sort of regenerative capacity into humans will be simpler than thought.

Link: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-10/uom-amm101909.php

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