Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Regenerative powers in the animal kingdom explored

Date:
August 23, 2011
Source:
Marine Biological Laboratory
Summary:
Why can one animal re-grow tissues and recover function after injury, while another animal (such as a human being) cannot? This is a central question of regenerative biology, a field that has captured the imagination of scientists and the public since the 18th century, and one that is finally gaining traction and momentum through modern methods of analysis.

Sea Squirt: The sea squirt is familiar as a pest that clumps to the bottom of docks and boats. Its powerful regenerative capacities are analyzed by Robert Lauzon and colleagues in the August issue of The Biological Bulletin. These colonies (Botryllus schlosseri) were collected in Woods Hole, Mass.
Credit: Robert Lauzon

Why can one animal re-grow tissues and recover function after injury, while another animal (such as a human being) cannot? This is a central question of regenerative biology, a field that has captured the imagination of scientists and the public since the 18th century, and one that is finally gaining traction and momentum through modern methods of analysis.

Regeneration of the eye lens in frogs; of neural tissue in the snail; of the spinal cord in the sea lamprey; of the entire viscera in the sea cucumber -- these and other capacities of animal regeneration are detailed in a "virtual symposium" in this month's issue of The Biological Bulletin (available online at: http://www.biolbull.org/).

"[The] use of animal models to understand the mechanism of regeneration is both fruitful and of potentially enormous significance to the future practice of medicine," write the issue's co-editors, Joel Smith of the MBL's Eugene Bell Center for Regenerative Biology and Tissue Engineering; and James L. Olds of the Department of Molecular Neuroscience at George Mason University.

"The challenge is to describe the mechanisms of (animal) regeneration at the molecular level, delivering detailed insights into the many components that are cross-regulated," assert Smith and colleagues in a research article that advocates a "systems" approach of constructing maps of gene activity during the animal's regenerative phase.

The power of this approach, they write, is that studying regeneration in a carefully selected model (spinal cord regeneration in the sea lamprey, for example) "can reveal gene regulatory networks that may be conserved in the human central nervous system and may therefore serve as therapeutic targets for new pharmacological and biological compounds after brain or spinal cord injury."

Other authors take different approaches to illuminating regenerative biology. Robert Lauzon of Union College and colleagues, in research conducted partly at the MBL, consider the roles of stem cells and allorecognition in sea squirt regeneration. Nozomi Yoshinari and Atsushi Kawakami of Tokyo Institute of Technology review the process of fin regeneration in zebrafish and medeka and highlight the "compartments" or subpopulations of cells that are involved. MBL scientists Mark Messerli and David Graham review the roles of extracellular electrical fields (EFs) in controlling development, wound healing, and regeneration. Three of the issue's papers apply tools and insights from neuroscience to investigate neural regeneration in the snail (Ryota Matsuo and Esturo Ito of Tokushima Bunri University; M.J. Zoran of Texas A&M and colleagues; and in the sea squirt (H.N. Sköld of University of Gothenburg and colleagues). Finally, the issue reprints a landmark article on the concept of polarity in regenerative processes by Thomas Hunt Morgan, an early leader in the field, which was first published in The Biological Bulletin in 1909.

In co-editing the issue, Smith and Olds write, "we were struck anew how many unanswered questions of basic science are central to regeneration," such as the "age-old question [of] whether, and to what degree, regenerative processes recapitulate the developmental program." But the field of regeneration today is "broad and vibrant," as this issue of The Biological Bulletin shows, with many efforts furnishing answers and clues.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Marine Biological Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Marine Biological Laboratory. "Regenerative powers in the animal kingdom explored." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110818132148.htm>.
Marine Biological Laboratory. (2011, August 23). Regenerative powers in the animal kingdom explored. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110818132148.htm
Marine Biological Laboratory. "Regenerative powers in the animal kingdom explored." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110818132148.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Monkeys Are Better At Math Than We Thought, Study Shows

Monkeys Are Better At Math Than We Thought, Study Shows

Newsy (Apr. 23, 2014) — A Harvard University study suggests monkeys can use symbols to perform basic math calculations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) — A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur on Monday when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) — Drake University hosts 35th annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — One Florida fisherman caught a 805-pound shark off the coast of Florida earlier this month. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins