When a lizard loses its tail, it grows back. But how?
Scientists have taken a big step closer to answering that question by pinpointing the genes responsible for tail regeneration. And the finding may yield important clues about how to regenerate limbs in humans.
For the study, the researchers took a close look at roughly 23,000 genes found in samples of sliced-up tails of green anole lizards. They found that at least 326 genes in specific spots along each tail were "turned on" during regeneration -- suggesting that lizard DNA has a genetic "recipe" for regeneration.
What about human limb regeneration? The researchers said their finding may help pave the way for new therapeutic approaches for birth defects and spinal cord injuries -- and possibly arthritis too. Nearly all of the 326 genes pinpointed by the researchers are present in humans as well as lizards, Kusumi said.
Lizards, which are amniote vertebrates like humans, are able to lose and regenerate a functional tail. Understanding the molecular basis of this process would advance regenerative approaches in amniotes, including humans. We have carried out the first transcriptomic analysis of tail regeneration in a lizard, the green anole Anolis carolinensis, which revealed 326 differentially expressed genes activating multiple developmental and repair mechanisms. Specifically, genes involved in wound response, hormonal regulation, musculoskeletal development, and the Wnt and MAPK/FGF pathways were differentially expressed along the regenerating tail axis. Furthermore, we identified 2 microRNA precursor families, 22 unclassified non-coding RNAs, and 3 novel protein-coding genes significantly enriched in the regenerating tail. However, high levels of progenitor/stem cell markers were not observed in any region of the regenerating tail. Furthermore, we observed multiple tissue-type specific clusters of proliferating cells along the regenerating tail, not localized to the tail tip. These findings predict a different mechanism of regeneration in the lizard than the blastema model described in the salamander and the zebrafish, which are anamniote vertebrates. Thus, lizard tail regrowth involves the activation of conserved developmental and wound response pathways, which are potential targets for regenerative medical therapies.
Nearly all of the 326 genes pinpointed by the researchers are present in humans as well as lizards, Kusumi said.
originally posted by: NarcolepticBuddha
a reply to: SLAYER69
Am I the only one thinking of Curt Connors / The Lizard? Didn't we learn anything from Spider-man?
We already splice DNA into bacteria (to make insulin etc.) Guess it was only a matter of time before we tried utilizing genes from other animals in this way.
It always sounds ugly until you're the one wishing you had your legs back.