Can salamander DNA help restore lost human limbs?

Imagine that almost any part of the body can be regenerated. How would our life change? I don’t know about you, but my first associations with regeneration were related to Hugh Jackman, and more precisely, to the character he played in “X-Men” by Wolverine. Although in fact the first and only creature that we all should think about, if it comes to regeneration, is the salamander. The fact is that these amazing amphibians can regenerate the spinal cord, tail, eyes, and some species even the lens. According to during a research press release, scientists said salamander DNA can regenerate parts of the human body. The work will be published in the journal Genome Research.

Regeneration is one of the most attractive areas of biological research. How can some animals grow parts of the body? Is it possible that we will succeed? If scientists could discover the secrets that endow these animals with such remarkable ability, this knowledge could be of great importance in medical practice in the future. Scientists at the University of Kentucky decided to get even closer to this idea by announcing that they were able to sequence the axolotl – the salamander, whose only natural habitat is a lake near Mexico City.

Axolotli have long been interested in scientists as the main models for regeneration. By completely sequencing the genetic code of axolotl, the researchers hope that in the future it can be used to treat people. The development of new methods of genetic treatment may lead to the possibility that people will be able to repair missing limbs or repair other damage to the body, as the salamanders do. Axolotls are actually able to regenerate almost any part of the body, so finding the one they are not able to recover is quite difficult. The extremities, tail, spinal cord, eye, and even half of their brain are subject to regeneration. Just think how amazing this is.

Differences in the Human and Salamander Genomes

Sequencing the human genome today is more or less commonplace, however, in the case of the salamander genome, the team needed to come up with new methods for sequencing axolotle DNA – the fact is that the animal’s genetic code is ten times longer than that of humans. The method used by researchers in the future will allow sequencing of the long genome of other animals.

These fun salamanders can repair damaged parts of the brain

In the future, researchers intend to study the complete DNA sequence of salamanders to learn more about the regenerative abilities of axolotl. “Now that we have access to genomic information, we can really begin to explore the functions of axolotl genes and find out how they can regenerate parts of the body,” the study authors said during a press release. So it’s possible that someday scientists will be able to use the salamander genome and use it to treat patients with spinal cord injuries, stroke, joint restoration and … this is definitely not the limit.

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