By news editor, on 10 June 2013
What happens if a newt’s leg is cut off? Or a gecko’s tail auto-amputated?
The cells simply multiply to grow back into exactly what was missing. If a flatworm were cut in two, the two halves would both become new flatworms.
Unfortunately for humans, this incredible ability to self-regenerate was lost several branches ago on the evolutionary tree. As such, we definitely don’t have the ability to grow a new leg, or a new heart.
We have to rely on skin grafts and organ transplants, with common risks of rejection, infection and multiple complications. However, according to Professor Mark Birchall and Dr Felicity Mehendale, our regenerative future is just around the corner.