Saturday, 27 July 2013

Wolverine style regeneration!

Biology is a funny business. By which I mean that every second Tuesday biological science seems to come up with some new and terrifying way to pervert nature.

Remember this mouse? It was at this point that I realised reality was more weird than my nightmares.

Frankly I think mother nature has coming though, so I'm more than happy about this newest development: Scientists have learned how to activate the regenerative powers of flatworms.

OK, that doesn't sound as cool as it did in my head, but flatworm's regenerative powers are up there with this guy's:

Me: "Logan, have you ever tried Prozac?"
Wolverine:"I'm on Prozac, bub."
Me:"Holy sh*t!"

Some species heal so well that even if you split them lengthways they don't die: You'll just end up with two identical (and, I assume, equally pissed off) flatworms. They'll recover even if over 99% of their body is destroyed.

Which makes for a great school biology experiment:



But not all flatworm species can pull this trick off - which is on my list of 'reasons why mother nature has it coming'. So scientists have been comparing the genes of those species that can and those species that can't, to try and figure out which genes are responsible.

And their discovery - how to give regenerative powers to flatworm species that usually don't have them - is a pretty good sign that they're real close......