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Scientist On the Verge of Making Human Regeneration Possible

Nov 29, 2016 04:16 AM EST
Earthworms
A new research discovered that acorn worms, arguably human's closest invertebrate relative, are able to regenerate every major part of their body.
(Photo : Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Most of the technology available nowadays would seem unfathomable for anyone alive a century ago. At present, sending a message does not require using pen and paper. Likewise, you can access the troves of human knowledge and history from a device that fits snuggly in the palm of your hands.

Technology has come a long way especially when it comes to the field of medicine. Nevertheless, there are certain things, like regeneration, that remains science fiction. It might, however, not be too long before humans can regenerate parts of their bodies - at least considering a recently published study from the University of Washington.

In a paper published on the December issue of Developmental Dynamics, Shawn Luttrell, a doctoral student from UW, discovered that acorn worms, arguably human's closest invertebrate relative, are able to regenerate every major part of their body. In fact, acorn worms can regenerate from being sliced in half. Luttrell is hopeful that unlocking the secrets of animals like the acorn worms would make human privy to the process of regeneration.

"We share thousands of genes with these animals, and we have many, if not all, of the same genes they are using to regenerate their body structures. This could have implications for central nervous system regeneration in humans if we can figure out the mechanism the worms use to regenerate" quipped Luttrell as reported by Science Daily.

Billie Swalla, senior author of the paper, also expressed her hopes for what their research has uncovered. She explains that the ability to regenerate allows for immortality:

"Regeneration gives animals or populations immortality,"

At present, the researchers involved in the study are trying to discover which specific cells the acorn worms use in order to regenerate. They speculate that stem cells might have a hand in promoting regrowth or directing cells to accomplish the task of regrowing tissue.

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