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Regeneration of Limbs and Other Body Parts is Just One Scar Away

The scientists have fascinated since millennium regarding the secret of “why salamanders can regenerate a lost limb, but adult mammals cannot”. Now a group of scientists has taken an innovative step to solve this mystery by figuring out the differenc ...

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The scientists have fascinated since millennium regarding the secret of “why salamanders can regenerate a lost limb, but adult mammals cannot”. Now a group of scientists has taken an innovative step to solve this mystery by figuring out the differences in the molecular signaling which promotes the regeneration in a highly regenerative salamander called axolotl, while at the same time blocking the same in an adult mouse. It has been observed that most of the salamanders are able to regenerate a lost limb easily, but the same is not possible in the adult mammals, which includes humans also. This scientific mystery has attracted many scientists and so a team of scientists led by James Godwin, PhD, in the MDI Biological Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine has taken initiative to solve this mystery. Scientists at the MDI Biological Laboratory are largely dependent on the comparative biology to gain knowledge regarding the human health," said Hermann Haller, M.D., the president of the institution. The contribution of James Godwin's discovery regarding the comparative studies of axolotl and mouse proves that the idea of ​​learning from nature is authentic even today.

Instead of regenerating lost or injured body parts, mammals often create a scar at the injury site. The scar acts as a physical barrier to regeneration. Regenerative medicine research at the MDI Biological Laboratory has focused on understanding why the axolotl doesn't form a scar or why it doesn't respond to injury the way other mammals do. "Our research shows that humans have untapped regeneration potential,” said Godwin. If we can solve the problem of scarring, we may be able to unleash our latent regeneration potential. Axolotl do not leave any scars, which enables regeneration. But when a scar has formed, regeneration can’t take place. With humans, we could improve the quality of life for many people if we avoid the formation of scar.

The axolotl, a Mexican salamander almost extinct in the wild, is a popular model in regenerative medicine research due to its unique status as a master of the regeneration of nature. While most salamanders have some ability to regenerate, the axolotl can regenerate almost any part of the body, including the brain, heart, jaw, limbs, lungs and among others. Since mammalian embryos and juveniles have the ability to regenerate, for instance, human babies can regenerate the heart tissues and children can regenerate fingertips. Thus, adult mammals are likely to retain the genetic code for regeneration, increasing the possibility that pharmaceutical therapies could be developed to encourage humans to regenerate lost tissues and organs from disease or injury, rather than scar formation.

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