08 September 2010

Regenerative Biology ~ Xenopus is Major Model

Very interesting to read Carolyn Johnson's piece in the Globe about the Leapfrog, Scientist-Style...
"Blessed with the unusual ability to regrow the lens of its eye, and laying eggs big enough to study and manipulate, the frog is prized by scientists who want to explore things as diverse as birth defects and organ regeneration. But unlike other workhorses of science, the frogs did not have a real home base. Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, maintains different genetic strains of lab mice. The Bloomington Drosophila Stock Center at Indiana University collects and distributes lines of fruit flies. And the Zebrafish International Resource Center in Oregon stocks the fish. Now, a five-year, $3.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health will support a national Xenopus center at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole. "This is a major model for regenerative biology," said Joshua Hamilton, MBL’s chief academic and scientific officer. “The fact is, humans don’t regenerate, and neither do mice and rats. But we do know these earlier or simpler forms of life can. The aspiration is if we can learn how these animals do this, we should be able to translate that to humans."
Metaphorically speaking, kissing this frog is quite wise!

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