Organ, tissue and bone regeneration are something of a “Holy Grail” for medical science researchers. The ability to regenerate tissue would be of enormous health benefits to people. Deer antler bone has recently been in the news for its regenerative quality.
Humans already have some regenerative capacity. Liver cells and some other cells in the body can regenerate. Other animals are much better at it. Some can lose tails to predators and regrow them, for example.
According to Phys.org deer have become a central focus of research. That is because they regenerate an entire set of antlers every year.
According to the website:
“Scientists from a collection of Chinese research institutions collaborated on a study of organ regeneration in mammals, finding deer antler blastema progenitor cells are a possible source of conserved regeneration cells in higher vertebrates. Published in the journal Science, the researchers suggest the findings have applications in clinical bone repair. With the activation of key characteristic genes, it could potentially be used in regenerative medicine for skeletal, long bone or limb regeneration.”
“There is one type of mammal that engages in regenerative behavior in a very routine and reliable way, the deer. Male deer antlers regrow yearly as living tissue, with blood vessels and nerves wrapped around a fast growing boney structure. The researchers document a blastema-like structure present during antler regeneration, one similar to the structure involved in amphibian limb regeneration, suggesting a conserved biological feature available to vertebrate tissue regeneration.” Links in original.
Chinese scientists recently made a stir when they said they had created a mammal with “fully-reprogrammed” genes. Scientists are studying wild animals from a variety of angles including efforts to de-extinct thylacines. DNA may also prove helpful in saving endangered Sumatran tigers.
Scientists are also interested in Greenland sharks as they are thought to live for several hundred years. No one knows for sure but current estimates are 272 to 500 years. This makes them of great interest to scientists studying aging,l