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News Link • Biology, Botany and Zoology

Why can't humans regenerate body parts? We've got the genes

• by Loz Blain

Humans have most of the same genes, so scientists are trying to work out whether human regeneration is possible, too.

Regeneration – now that'd be a nice superpower to have. Injure an arm? Chop it off and wait for it to grow back. Dicky knee? Ingrown toenail? Lop off your leg and get two for one!

It sounds ridiculous, but there's a growing number of scientists that believe body part regeneration is not only possible, but achievable in humans. After all, not only are there plenty of animals that can do it, we can do it ourselves for our skin, nails, and bits of other organs.

What's more, we've got a lot of the genes for it. "I really think we as humans have the potential to regenerate, but something isn't allowing that to happen," says Billie Swalla, director of Friday Harbor Laboratories and and a Biology professor at the University of Washington, and part of a team that's closely studying regeneration in some of our invertebrate relatives.

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