Severed Limbs Dont Grow Back

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Salamanders lacking macrophages failed to regenerate their limbs, and instead formed scars. Gardiner said Godwin's work was a step toward understanding limb regeneration.

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Ordinarily salamanders don't develop scar tissue at all. When a human tears a muscle or gets a deep-enough cut, damaging connective tissue, scar tissue forms. This scar tissue doesn't offer the same functionality as the original stuff. So macrophages might be part of the story, but not all of it.

Why Can't We Regenerate Body Parts? - Seeker

The ability to "stay young" may add another insight into the mystery of limb regeneration. Mexican salamanders, called axolotls, or Ambystoma mexicanum , are neotenic, meaning they retain juvenile features into adulthood.

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This is why axolotls retain gills as they mature, whereas other salamander species don't. Humans possess neoteny, too, which is why adults look more like our baby selves than is the case with other primates, and why we take longer to mature than, say, chimps do. There's some connection, perhaps, with neoteny and regeneration.

Growing an entire limb

Gardiner notes that younger people seem better able to heal than older ones. In addition, researchers at Harvard Medical School found that a gene called Lin28a , which is active in immature animals and humans , but shuts down with maturity, has a hand in enabling mice to regenerate tissue — or at least to regrow the tips of their toes and ears. Once the animals were more than 5 weeks old, they weren't able to regrow those parts, even when Lin28a function was stimulated.

Lin28a is part of the animal's control system for metabolism — when stimulated, it can make an animal generate more energy, as though it were younger.

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But the exact nature of the connection isn't understood yet. Whereas all salamanders can regenerate limbs, only axolotls are neotenic, Roy noted. Salamanders, especially axolotls, can recruit stem cells to start regrowing limbs, and the kinds of cells that react to a wound site also appear connected to whether limbs can grow again.

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  • Humans have the ability to regenerate.

Gardiner was able to get salamanders to grow extra limbs by stimulating the growth of nerve cells in a wound site. It could be partly a question of biophysics: Salamander limbs are much smaller than humans; however, frogs cannot regenerate their limbs, so it may not be just a question of size," Roy said. Original article on Live Science. Jesse Emspak is a contributing writer for Live Science, Space.

Chopped: How Amputated Fingertips Sometimes Grow Back

He focuses on physics, human health and general science. Jesse spent years covering finance and cut his teeth at local newspapers, working local politics and police beats. Jesse likes to stay active and holds a third degree black belt in Karate, which just means he now knows how much he has to learn. Growing an entire limb But limb regeneration of the kind salamanders do is more than just replacing tissue. Neotony and limb regeneration The ability to "stay young" may add another insight into the mystery of limb regeneration.

Nevertheless, mammals do regenerate skin, muscle, and blood. Scientists are just beginning to learn about other types of cells, such as those in the brain and blood, that also regenerate. Further study of the phenomenon might lead to a way of growing replacement organs and limbs outside the body.

Could Humans Ever Regenerate a Limb?

Not all organisms regenerate in the same way. In plants and organisms like hydra and jellyfish, missing parts are replaced by reorganizing neighboring tissues into whatever parts have been cut off. Animals with more complex bodies usually regenerate parts by producing a specialized bud, or blastema, at the site of amputation. The blastema supplies the tissue necessary for the regenerated part. The regenerated body part is not always the same as what was lost.

Many insects regenerate abnormally small legs from which some segments may be missing. Tadpole tails, for example, typically grow back to about only half their original length. And regenerated parts often differ in details.

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