New research challenges long-held beliefs about limb regeneration

Researchers are challenging a centuries-old beliefs about how mammals might regenerate damaged parts of the body. In humans, the natural ability to regenerate is limited to tissues like the epidermis, the outermost layer of skin, and some organs, such as the liver. Other species, most notably salamanders, have the ability to regenerate complex structures such as bones, joints, and even entire limbs. As a result, scientists have been studying these species for more than 200 years to try to understand the mechanisms behind limb regeneration in the hopes of someday translating those mechanisms to induce more extensive regeneration in humans. That research has led to a common belief that the single biggest key for limb regeneration is the presence of nerves.

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