Genetic factors shaping salamander tails determine regeneration pace

Jul 03, 2013
This is a representative tail tip that was sampled during the process of regeneration. Credit: PLOS ONE 8(7): e67274. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067274

Salamanders' capacity to regrow lost limbs may seem infinite when compared with that of humans, but even amongst salamanders, some species regenerate body parts very slowly, while others lose this capacity as they age. Now, researchers have found that salamanders' capacity to regrow a cut tail depends on several small regions of DNA in their genome that impact how wide the tail grows.

The results are published July 3 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Randal Voss and colleagues from the University of Kentucky.

In the study, approximately 66-68% of the differences in regeneration among animals correlated with the width of their tails at the site of amputation. Molecular analysis revealed several that had small, additive effects on the width of the tail, and thus contributed to the animals' regenerative capacity. Voss adds, "Our results show that regenerative outgrowth is regulated locally by factors at the site of injury. Although we do not know the nature of these local factors yet, our findings suggest they are distributed quantitatively along the length of the tail."

Explore further: Meteorite that doomed dinosaurs remade forests

More information: Voss GJ, Kump DK, Walker JA, Voss SR (2013) Variation in Salamander Tail Regeneration Is Associated with Genetic Factors That Determine Tail Morphology. PLOS ONE 8(7): e67274. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067274

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Do salamanders hold the solution to regeneration?

May 20, 2013

Salamanders' immune systems are key to their remarkable ability to regrow limbs, and could also underpin their ability to regenerate spinal cords, brain tissue and even parts of their hearts, scientists have ...

Regrowing lost limbs

Aug 04, 2010

Another option may be on the horizon for patients who lose limbs due to war, accident, or disease. Instead of using artificial legs or arms, patients actually may regrow their own missing limbs. An article in the current ...

Recommended for you

Meteorite that doomed dinosaurs remade forests

15 hours ago

The meteorite impact that spelled doom for the dinosaurs 66 million years ago decimated the evergreens among the flowering plants to a much greater extent than their deciduous peers, according to a study ...

New camera sheds light on mate choice of swordtail fish

17 hours ago

We have all seen a peacock show its extravagant, colorful tail feathers in courtship of a peahen. Now, a group of researchers have used a special camera developed by an engineer at Washington University in ...

App helps homeowners identify spiders

20 hours ago

Each autumn the number of spiders seen indoors suddenly increases as males go on the hunt for a mate. The Society of Biology is launching a new app to help the public learn more about the spiders that will ...

User comments : 0