ASU study unlocking mystery of lizard regeneration

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

If you know anything about lizards they have a defense mechanism called autotomy, or in other words, they can detach their tail, confusing a predator while the lizards runs off to safety.  

Well, did you know that they have the ability to regenerate that tail? It does take more than 60 days to fully regrow it, but it's one of just a handful of species with the ability to regenerate. 

Researchers at ASU have been studying the inner workings of the regeneration process for the past two years. They examined every aspect right down to the most basic levels of cells, muscles, tissue and its ability to regrow cartilage. If they can fully understand how it's done, it could one day unlock the ability of regeneration in people.  

Cindy Xu is an ASU graduate student and one of the researchers.

"Lizards are evolutionary are more closely related to humans more than any other animal that is capable of appendage regeneration," Xu said.

It's not a far-fetched idea. We take a lot of notes and learn much from other species and plants on earth.

The research is fascinating and could open the doors to something incredible like the ability to regrow limbs for wounded veterans or someone born with a birth defect.

It's only the beginning but a very promising start.

"We can tweak that in humans we may be better able to understand why humans can't regenerate and why lizards can," Xu said.

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