In looking for ways to regrow lost or damaged limbs in humans, scientists are taking cues from the animal world where several species are known to effectively regenerate certain body parts. “Zebrafish, blue-and-white-striped fish that grow to be about 1.5 inches long, can regrow fins. To study how, scientists at Duke University Medical Center generated zebrafish with depleted levels of cells responsible for creating bone. … Learning more about this process could aid the development of therapies for bone injury or loss in humans.”
What’s the Big Idea?
Besides promoting certain types of cell growth, genetic manipulation may provide a method for regenerating human tissues. Several years ago, researchers at The Wistar Institute discovered that inactivating a single gene allowed holes in mouse ears to close without scarring. “The researchers determined that this breed of mice has an inactive version of a gene involved in regulating cell growth and division. The finding offers new insight into regeneration in a mammal and could guide the direction of future research.”