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Harvard Scientists Uncover 'DNA Switch' That Could Give People The Ability To Regrow Their Limb







The “master gene” was discovered by some Harvard scientists. Supposedly this gene helps animals such as geckos, lizards, and jellyfish regrow their large appendages like their limbs and tails. The evidence does not support the rejuvenation of a whole body but is considered to be the first crucial step at human body part regeneration.

They released their discovery in the popular journal “Science” which revealed “DNA switches” which animals possess and are known to control their genes and successfully regenerate their body parts.

Their research was based on the three-banded panther worm and the team was led by Mansi Srivastava who is the Harvard assistant professor of evolutionary and organismic biology. It proved that the “early growth gene” or EGR activates the complex system that governs the genetic code that is required for triggering the ability of the worm to regrow tissue that is lost and complex parts as well.

According to Andrew Gehrke, who is a fellow for post doctorate, in Srivastava’s lab, said that they found one master gene which activates genes that subsequently activate during regeneration. They act like switches which in deeper context states that some non-coding regions signal the coding regions to activate and deactivate accordingly.

They have discovered not less than 18000 regions of the panther worms’ genome that began physical transformation during regeneration, and this shows the importance of EGR during the triggering process. 

However these processes become impossible without EGR. He further explained that they were able to decrease the genetic activity and found that the absence of EGR leads to the ceasing of the process. All the downstream genes do not work and thus the switches are not turned on and basically the house becomes dark.

But the essential part of the discovery lies in the fact that the switch in panther worm is also present in other organisms as well. But presently, the gene appears to commence processes at a cellular level which is much more limited as a process.

 This is on a minuscule level but not as effective where regeneration of limbs is concerned.

According to Gehrke, if humans can turn EGR on and do it when their cells are injured, there is no doubt that soon regeneration will become humanly possible. But the genesis is still ambiguous because the scientists fear that the mechanism is totally different when worms and humans are concerned. They want to study further about the connections and apply it to other animals which include vertebrates.

The scientists are optimistic that the discovery of such a dynamic genome is simply the start. Gehrke says that the team has only reached the tip of the iceberg and there is a load of things that are yet to be discovered. This will help in discovering genomic interactions on a larger scale and not merely the opening and closing of pieces.

They are hopeful that such a discovery could help in the regeneration of limbs that have been severed in humans.

Harvard Scientists Uncover 'DNA Switch' That Could Give People The Ability To Regrow Their Limb Harvard Scientists Uncover 'DNA Switch' That Could Give People The Ability To Regrow Their Limb Reviewed by Tyler on March 30, 2019 Rating: 5

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