Electric switch could turn on limb regeneration

Nature magazine on how the study of tadpoles may produce new ways to regenerate human limbs.

Tadpoles can achieve something that humans may only dream of: pull off a tadpole’s thick tail or a tiny developing leg, and it’ll grow right back — spinal cord, muscles, blood vessels and all.

Now researchers have discovered the key regulator of the electrical signal that convinces Xenopus pollywogs to regenerate amputated tails. The results, reported this week in Development, give some researchers hope for new approaches to stimulating tissue regeneration in humans.

The simplicity of the regeneration start signal is promising:  it is just possible that a properly tuned electric signal is all humans need to jumpstart tissue regeneration.

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