Prospects for Limb Regeneration

Science  23 Dec 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5756, pp. 1865h
DOI: 10.1126/science.310.5756.1865h
CREDIT: WHITEHEAD ET AL.

Salamanders are able to regenerate a lost limb, a feature of ongoing development sadly lost to humans. Brockes and Kumar (p. 1919) review what is known about amphibian limb regeneration and speculate on how these observations could inform application of stem cell and regenerative medicine to mammalian cases. Zebrafish as well can regenerate their fins. Regeneration occurs through initial formation of a clump of undifferentiated cells, the blastema, which through growth and differentiation elaborates a replacement fin. Whitehead et al. (p. 1957; see the Perspective by Antebi) have now identified one of the signaling factors critical to formation of the blastema. In zebrafish the dob (devoid of blastema) mutation affects a gene that encodes signaling factor Fgf20, which seems to be used specifically for regeneration rather than for normal embryonic development.

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