Regeneration of body parts — our future


2017-04-17 14:30:06




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Regeneration of body parts — our future

Acorn worms, the worms have an incredible ability to regenerate. People have and these worms have a lot in common genes, so scientists are studying the latest in the hope to stimulate regeneration in humans. The ability to regenerate body parts has always been a fascinating prospect, inspiring such characters as Wolverine, who can heal themselves and recover lost parts of the body. And now regeneration inspires scientific research. Many species of the animal Kingdom can regenerate: the arthropods (e.g., Scorpions) can grow appendages. Some annelids can regenerate only a few segments of the body. Echinoderms (starfish) can self-amputate and re-grow a limb. Amphibians (salamanders and newts) can regenerate a limb in just a month, and some reptiles can regenerate their tails.

The Small reef creatures, worms that hide in the sand and are one of the closest invertebrates to humans, can regenerate any part of his body that were cut off, even nervous system and head. Cut this worm in half, and in fifteen days there will be two full, indistinguishable option. And they are extremely similar in body structure to humans. Scientists are asking: since people have many of the same genes, can we?

"I think that we, as humans, have the potential to regenerate, but something prevents it to happen," says biology Professor Billy Swalla from the University of Washington. Swalla — Director of Friday Harbor Laboratories, which is engaged in, among other things, the study of regeneration in the invertebrates. "I think people have all the necessary genes, and if we can figure out how to turn them on, we will be able to regenerate".

While all this sounds like science fiction, many scientists believe that the regeneration of human body parts is achievable. We restore the skin, other organs and nails; we also have many essential genes, of which almost all other animals are used for the regeneration of the structures of their body. We could restore the nervous system, if I understand the mechanism that worms use to regenerate.


Reverse engineering worms

Road map of man, which contains in our DNA, is present in every cell of our body and should also contain sufficient information for the creation or regeneration of the body. However, access to this part of the plan is unavailable to humans, for some evolutionary reason. One possible reason for this is that regeneration requires a lot of energy in a large and complex organism like man. It may be that our highly developed immune system stop the process with the help of the answers, for example, due to the formation of scars.

The Team at Washington University investigated what patterns of gene expression occur when the worms starts regeneration. Because the regeneration of each worm goes through the same circuit after the start, scientists believe that there must be a master gene. If this gene begins the process, he can become a trigger for regeneration in humans.

They are also trying to determine which cellular functions act as building blocks of regeneration. Stem cells — an obvious option, but may be other types of cells that can be used for regeneration. Finally, a team of scientists hopes to use the activation of genes or the edit to start the process in other animals, including humans.

Ultimately, medicine might take a completely different look. Victims of burn could help to restore the skin, and people who are in the queue for transplantation to grow new limbs and internal organs. Of course, such technology, if it is possible, will not be soon. The obstacles are enormous, and over the duplication of work nervous systems, brain and internal organs will need to do some very deep work. Perhaps it will take a hundred years.


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