Does this salamander have a superpower?
Researcher Susan Bryant discusses the regenerative capabilities of the axolotl.
Vocabulary: regeneration, cell division, blastema, discontinuity, positional information
The axolotl is a Mexican salamander with an incredible ability: Cut its leg off, and the limb will grow right back! How it does this and why humans can’t is still a bit of a mystery. Researchers like Susan Bryant of UC Irvine are studying these amphibians to understand the underlying mechanisms for their miraculous regenerative powers.
Questions for Students
- Why might we characterize axolotl unique limb regeneration as “savvy cell division”?
- Why is a nerve necessary to the new limb creation process? How does this process relate to the function of the nervous system?
- Susan Bryant’s team created a way to document positional information on an axolotl arm or leg. Why is it important that the researchers have this “map”?
[Read more about axolotls, critically endangered salamanders with some amazing abilities.]