Feature

Nature's strategies: Resilience by regeneration

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  02 Mar 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6379, pp. 978
DOI: 10.1126/science.359.6379.978

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Summary

The human powers of regeneration are limited: Broken bones knit, wounds heal, and large parts of the liver can regenerate, but that's about it. But the axolotl—a large salamander also called the Mexican walking fish—can replace an entire missing limb or even its tail, which means regrowing the spinal cord, backbone, and muscles. About 30 research teams are probing how those and other salamanders do it. In the axolotl, they've found, various tissues work together to detect limb loss and coordinate regrowth by reactivating the same genetic circuits that guided the formation of those structures during embryonic development, causing generalist stem cells to specialize. The ultimate hope: One day, we'll be able to coax injured humans to execute similar repairs.