Some Salamanders Can Regrow Lost Body Parts. Could Humans One Day Do the Same?

by Amber Dance/Knowable Magazine/

As amphibians go, axolotls are pretty cute. These salamanders sport a Mona Lisa half-smile and red, frilly gills that make them look dressed up for a party. You might not want them at your soiree, though: They’re also cannibals. While rare now in the wild, axolotls used to hatch en masse, and it was a salamander-eat-salamander world. In such a harsh nursery, they evolved — or maybe kept — the ability to regrow severed limbs.

“Their regenerative powers are just incredible,” says Joshua Currie, a biologist at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute in Toronto who’s been studying salamander regeneration since 2011. If an axolotl loses a limb, the appendage will grow back, at just the right size and orientation. Within weeks, the seam between old and new disappears completely.

And it’s not just legs: Axolotls can regenerate ovary and lung tissue, even parts of the brain and spinal cord.

The salamander’s exceptional comeback from injury has been known for more than a century, and scientists have unraveled some of its secrets. It seals the amputation site with a special type of skin called wound epithelium, then builds a bit of tissue called the blastema, from which sprouts the new body part…



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  1. Back in 2005 I was listening to a science segment on ABC radio in Australia. The presenter talked of how scientist’s had been able to regrow teeth in mice using stem cell research. It was predicted that in 5 years time this should be available for humans. That was 15 years ago! And nope I can’t go down to my local dentist and get my teeth regrown. Why is that you think? I think it is either a scam by the research company to get funding to keep jobs or they did perfect it but were told not to release the technology because it would put dentistry into jeopardy. Same old story we hear that they can cure this, regrow that, all with stem cell research. This has been going on for many decades and still we see nothing come to fruition. People still need wheelchairs and crutches, still dying from cancers and we still got amputees. They are withholding the knowledge and technology deliberately I believe.

  2. Yes, body parts can be re grown on a human being, its called Body Electronics and has been going on for some time & as per normal scientist are the last cab of the rank! People have gown back fingers, hands & a Chinese man crew his teeth back. The body has to be fully mineralised & certain other pre conditions, the certain pressure points are held to start the regeneration process. Cheers JF

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