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Body builders - the worms that point the way to understanding tissue regeneration

Scientists at The University of Nottingham have discovered the gene that enables an extraordinary worm to regenerate its own body parts after amputation — including a whole head and brain.

Their research into the Planarian worm is another piece in the scientific jigsaw that could one day make the regeneration of old or damaged human organs and tissues a real possibility.

The research led by Dr Aziz Aboobaker, a Research Councils UK Fellow in the School of Biology shows for the first time that a gene called 'Smed-prep' is essential for correctly regenerating a head and brain in planarian worms. The study is published on April 22 2010 in the open access journal PLoS Genetics.

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