Friday, August 06, 2010

Salamander Genes Builds New Mouse Muscle

Wired reports: [edited]

By temporarily turning off a pair of genes identified in research on limb-regrowing newts, researchers turned back the biological clock on mouse muscle cells, allowing them to divide anew and form fresh tissue.

In most animals cells stop dividing when they’ve attained their mature, tissue-specific form. Chop off a limb or carve up an organ, and it doesn’t grow back. A few creatures, however, including newts and axolotl salamanders, break those rules. They can regrow new limbs, even organs.

Katz (one of the researchers, Ed.) cautioned that much remains to be determined about regeneration, and that it likely requires a complex, varying and as-yet-unknown mixture of cell types and stages. “There are enormous numbers of possibilities,” she said.

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