Regeneration: It Works for Alligators, What About Humans?

Young alligators are targeted by other predators, so they need a tail to make it through their most vulnerable years. (Florida Fish and Wildlife via Flickr under CC BY-ND 2.0)

Regeneration: Studies of Reptiles May Lead to Human Applications 

Health Editor’s Note: Imagine being able to regrow an arm or leg that has been amputated. Reptiles and amphibians can do just that. While alligators can regenerate a ‘tail’ which does not have the muscles that the original tail had, this new appendage is good enough to help it to survive and avoid predators. 

Interestingly enough, dinosaurs which were the ancestors of reptiles and birds, could generate new limbs, but when the two species lines separated hundreds of thousands years ago, only the reptile line maintain the regenerative ability. 

We have always wanted humans to have the ability to regenerate lost body parts but alas the the human body is too complex to do this. Alligators are large reptiles and display the ability to regenerate which brings hope to finding a way for humans accomplish the same feat….Carol




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    • I had one finger that was degloved, and they snipped the bone, but did not sew the end, so the nail and flesh did grow back, but the bone did not. It is a painful process.

  1. Scientific work that was done on this matter by Robert O Becker, M.D, was published in a book co-authored by Becker and Gary Selden titled, “The Body Electric” (copyrighted 1985).
    In studying the regeneration of salamander limbs, Becker found that the formation of a blastema through the regeneration of the limb was electrically controlled, not chemically controlled.
    He found that the electrical conductors in the body behaved as if they were semiconductors. In bone he found that the mineral apatite crystal behaved as a P type semiconductor and the collagen behaved as an N type semiconductor, making their junction a diode. In addition, the collagen was piezoelectric. Becker was the physician who found that when broken bones didn’t heal, running a tiny current through them allowed the fracture to heal.

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