What Salamanders Could Teach Scientists About Growing Human Limbs


In an attempt to recreate the plot of multiple recent superhero movies, a team of Australian scientists is looking into the regenerative properties of salamanders–and into how humans can pull off the same trick.

Salamanders, specifically the axolotl, are vertebrates that can regenerate limbs and organs, which sure would be a useful technique for humans to have, too. So researchers, led by James Godwin, of the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute at Monash University, figured out how salamanders pull it off. Godwin suspected that macrophages, cells that work in the immune system, played a part. When he and his colleagues removed the macrophages from the axolotls, the axolotls couldn't regenerate limbs: instead, they ended up with scarring and stumps. (A study on that was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.)

Written By: Colin Lecher
continue to source article at popsci.com


  1. In reply to #2 by Kevin Murrell:

    Could the same techniques be used to grow brains for backwoods Yankee politicians?

    But the ones they have are “as new” – never been used!!

  2. The axolotl is an amphibian which has regressed to continue for an extended period in its juvenile form. It could be that this is related to the regeneration. Anyway! Good luck with the research!

  3. Axolotl populations are threatened by water pollution run off from Mexico City – poor little critters.

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