How to grow a new limb

th1098 [creativecommons license] via Wikimedia Commons

Salamanders are commonly used as regeneration models because they can grow new limbs after amputation. At the amputation site, a clump of undifferentiated progenitor cells called the blastema forms and then regenerates the missing tissues. A fully formed limb is comprised of multiple tissue types (including dermis, muscle, nerve and skeletal elements) that must coordinate in order for the limb to function properly. How the blastema is formed from these distinct tissue types and then goes on to regenerate them is not well understood, but new research from Elly Tanaka and colleagues (Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden, Germany) is starting to clarify this complex process.

Lab Anim. (NY) 38, 250 (2009).
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