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Feb 3, 2020

Tiny salamander’s huge genome may harbor the secrets of regeneration

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

“It regenerates almost anything after almost any injury that doesn’t kill it,” said Parker Flowers, postdoctoral associate in the lab of Craig Crews, the John C. Malone Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and professor of chemistry and pharmacology.

If scientists can find the genetic basis for the axolotl’s ability to regenerate, they might be able to find ways to restore damaged tissue in humans. But they have been thwarted in the attempt by another peculiarity of the axolotl — it has the largest genome of any animal yet sequenced, 10 times larger than that of humans.

Now Flowers and colleagues have found an ingenious way to circumvent the animal’s complex genome to identify at least two genes involved in regeneration, they report Jan. 28 in the journal eLife.

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