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Does this salamander hold the key to the restoration of human body parts?



Scientists who have assembled the salamander genome, known for their ability to regenerate body parts, say that achieving can be an important step in finding ways to restore the parts of the human body.

Axolotl is a salamander whose only natural habitat is a lake near Mexico City.

"It's hard to find a body part they can not regenerate: the limbs, the tail, the spinal cord, the eye and, in some species, the lens, even half of their brain has regenerated," the study said. – Head of Randal Voss. He is a professor at the Center for the Study of Spinal Cord and Brain Disorders at the University of Kentucky.

While humans and axlobot share many genes, the salamander genome is 10 times larger, which is a major barrier to genetic research.

While the latest research revealed much of the genetic data about the axlobot, this information was like a pile of puzzles, said Co-Chair Jermaina Smith, an associate professor of biology at the University.

This genetic puzzle had to come together in the right order so scientists could begin to study what gives Axlotto his remarkable recovery capabilities.

By adapting an approach called coupling, Voss and Smith were able to quickly and efficiently assemble the axlobot genome, according to the study. This is the first such great genome to be assembled.

To test their concept, scientists used newly collected genetic data to identify a gene that causes a heart defect in axlobots, providing a new model of human disease.

"Biomedical research is increasingly turning into a genetically-generated enterprise," Voss said in a university statement. He added that researchers should be able to study gene functions in other organisms to understand human disease.

"Now that we have access to genomic information, we can really start exploring the functions of the axlobot gene and learn how they can regenerate body parts," Voss says.

"We hope someday to translate this information into therapy with people with potential uses for spinal cord injury, stroke, joint replacement … indeed the sky is the border," he said.

The findings were published in the February issue of the magazine Genome,

More information

The University's Center for Regenerative Biology and Medicine in Indiana offers more science for regenerative medicine.

EASTERN: Kentucky University, press release, January 24, 2019

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