7th April 2008 – From DNA to Organism

Could Humans grow new limbs?

Professor Enrique Amaya from Manchester University discussed how DNA makes organisms and how amphibian embryos have an incredible ability to heal following amputations, which is one of the primary reasons why they have been used for more than a century as an experimental embryological system.

Xenopus frog embryos are able to heal following wounding within hours, without leaving a scar or any sign of damage. Could humans be persuaded to grow a new leg after amputation? Why do toads and newts etc. not even leave a scar? Superb movies of  Xenopus frog tadpoles show them regenerating all the tissues in the tail, following amputation, within nine days. Profesor Amaya is trying to identify novel genes involved in the regeneration.

The ultimate aim of this work is to identify new gene targets, which may form the basis of novel therapeutic and clinical applications to wound healing and tissue regeneration in humans.

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