Photo credit: Christian Baker
The axolotl is a Mexican salamander with incredible regenerative abilities, which means you can slice off its leg off, and the limb will grow right back, exactly the way it was. How they’re able to do this and humans can’t is still a mystery to researchers. “It’s hard to find a body part they can’t regenerate: the limbs, the tail, the spinal cord, the eye, and in some species, the lens, even half of their brain has been shown to regenerate,” said study co-lead author Randal Voss, a professor at the University of Kentucky Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center. Read more for another video and additional information.
“While humans and the axolotl share many genes, the salamander’s genome is 10 times larger, posing a major hurdle for genetic study..recent research revealed much of the genetic data for the axolotl, that information was like a pile of puzzle pieces. By adapting an approach called linkage mapping, [researchers Randal] Voss and [Jeramiah] Smith were able to assemble the axolotl genome quickly and efficiently. It’s the first genome this large to be assembled,” reports UPI.