Chick Embryo Regrows Wing With Wnt Signaling
According to a study published in Genes and Development yesterday, a research team at the Salk Institute for Biological studies has been able to regenerate a wing in a chick embryo. This new study adds to the evidence that mammals can also regrow limbs (see Lab Mice Unexpectedly Regenerate Limbs, Organs), an ability once thought to be restricted to certain amphibians and lizards.
The new study demonstrates that even mammalian vertibrate regeneration is under control of the Wnt signaling system.
"In this simple experiment, we removed part of the chick embryo's wing, activated Wnt signaling, and got the whole limb back - a beautiful and perfect wing," said the lead author, Juan Carlos Izpis˙a Belmonte, Ph.D., a professor in the Gene Expression Laboratory. "By changing the expression of a few genes, you can change the ability of a vertebrate to regenerate their limbs, rebuilding blood vessels, bone, muscles, and skin - everything that is needed."
This new discovery "opens up an entirely new area of research," Belmonte says. "Even though certain animals have lost their ability to regenerate limbs during evolution, conserved genetic machinery may still be present, and can be put to work again."
(From Wnt reactivates dormant limb regeneration program press release)
The Wnt signaling pathway is a complex network of proteins most well known for their roles in embryogenesis and cancer, but also involved in normal physiological processes in adult animals. The name Wnt was coined as a combination of 'Wg' (wingless) and 'Int.' The wingless gene had originally been identified as a segment polarity gene in Drosophila melanogaster that functions during embryogenesis. and also during adult limb formation during metamorphosisz. The Int genes were originally identified as vertebrate genes near several integration sites of mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV).
To manipulate animals' regeneration ability, the Salk researchers used inhibitory and excitatory factors for Wnt signaling, which they delivered directly to the remaining bulge after they cut a limb from the experimental embryos. "The [exitatory Wnt] signal restarted the process, and genes that were involved in the initial development of the limb were turned back on," Belmonte says. "It is simply amazing."
Researchers noted that the procedure must be done in an extremely controlled way; uncontrolled cell proliferation can lead to cancer.
The first time I ever read about the idea that it might be possible to regrow limbs was in science fiction writer Frank Herbert's 1972 uneven but highly readable novel The Godmakers, in which a badly injured agent is able to regrow what was lost:
Orne began to show small but steady signs of recovery... they placed him on an atlotl/gibiril regimen, forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to regrow his lost fingers and eye, restore his scalp line and erase the other internal-external damage.
Read more about Wnt reactivates dormant limb regeneration program and this article on the Wnt signaling pathway.
(Read more about Frank Herbert's Atlotl/Gibiril Regimen)
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/18/2006)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 3 )
Related News Stories -
Researchers Say 'Biohybrid Robot' - Clarke Said 'Biot'
'... The biological robots were not living creatures.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1972.
Unique DNA To Foil Parts Counterfeiters
'... the only molecule, a unique protein amino acid, which could not be duplicated.' - Philip K. Dick, 1965.
Steerable Locusts Detect Explosives
Science fiction writers again provide a blueprint for the future.
Real Leather Without Cows Modern Meadow Biofabrication
'Plastissue, as any fool can see...' - WF Wallace, 1952,
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
PassivDom 3D Printed House - What If You Could Live Anywhere?
'The houses are prefabricated units...'
Breakthrough In Manufacture Of Red Blood Cells
This blood's for you!
Caihong Solar-Powered Drone 'Atmospheric Satellite'
'... placed in the wings of a plane to generate power from the light falling on that surface.'
NASA Wants Low Earth Orbit Wifi
'This was the center of Interplanetary Communications.'
Is Genetic Testing At Businesses A Bad Idea?
It's not a topic that fares well in science fiction movies-
Wearable Smart Jacket
He pressed the button in his sleeve communicator and snapped: 'Action stations!'
Store One Bit On One Atom
'...each individual molecule has a meaning.'
Fluorescent Bacteria Fashion
'The racks of gowns itched and quivered, their colors running into blurred pools.'
Keith Laumer's Bolo Autonomous Tanks Right On Schedule
'I cannot lie idle under attack.'
When Computers Develop Their Own Language, Will They Talk To Us?
'The curious absent look of a robot talking on the TBR circuits - the Talk Between Robots radio...'
LipNet Reads Lips - Until Disconnected, That Is
'We'd have to cut his higher brain functions... I'm not sure what [HAL} would think about that.'
Eterni.me - To Skype With The Dead
'Nothing... left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'
Wearable MRI Is Former Occulus/Facebook Exec's New Project
'Your cephalochromoscope... that you always turn on and play when you get home...'
Ford Stratasys Infinte Build 3D Printer
'He proudly indicated his Buick... Almost as good as the original it was printed from...'
The Space Suit As Personal Spaceship
'Darn clever, these suits...'
Dune Fans! Your God Emperor Is Ready
'If one held a sandtrout in the hand, smoothing it over your skin, it formed a living glove.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories