It’s a Spanish study and the lead authour of the article in the publication Nature, Maria Abad, said:
‘Our stem cells also survive outside of mice, in a culture, so we can also manipulate them in a laboratory. This change of direction in development has never been observed in nature.’
Prof Chris Mason, of University College London, called the research the
‘beginning of limb regeneration’. ‘The ultimate goal is regrow an arm or a limb but it is very early on in that route. But it is very significant and could have a massive impact on cell therapies. For instance, being able to treat cells within the body would reduce the costs of cell treatment significantly.’
We are certainly not there yet. What you’re getting with one hand nature seems to be taking back with the other: The technique in its present form has caused some of the mice to develop cancer-like tumours.
Turning to aquatic allies, the closest relative we humans have in the vast panoply of invertebrate species that blanket the earth is a tiny, unassuming marine set of animals called Sea Squirts or Tunicates. Get a load of this; they are able to regenerate their damaged tissue from their blood vessels alone.