Editors' ChoiceDevelopment

Prospects for Limb Regeneration

Science's STKE  03 Jan 2006:
Vol. 2006, Issue 316, pp. tw465
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3162006tw465

Salamanders are able to regenerate a lost limb, a feature of ongoing development sadly lost to humans. Brockes and Kumar review what is known about amphibian limb regeneration and speculate on how these observations could inform application of stem cell and regenerative medicine to mammalian cases. Zebrafish, as well, can regenerate their fins. Regeneration occurs through initial formation of a clump of undifferentiated cells, the blastema, which through growth and differentiation elaborates a replacement fin. Whitehead et al. (see the Perspective by Antebi) have now identified one of the signaling factors critical to formation of the blastema. In zebrafish, the dob mutation affects a gene that encodes signaling factor Fgf20, which seems to be used specifically for regeneration rather than for normal embryonic development.

J. P. Brockes, A. Kumar, Appendage regeneration in adult vertebrates and implications for regenerative medicine. Science 310, 1919-1923 (2005). [Abstract] [Full Text]

G. G. Whitehead, S. Makino, C.-L. Lien, M. T. Keating, fgf20 is essential for initiating zebrafish fin regeneration. Science 310, 1957-1960 (2005). [Abstract] [Full Text]

A. Antebi, The tick-tock of aging? Science 310, 1911-1913 (2005). [Summary] [Full Text]