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  • Writer's pictureSinead Mackintosh

Starry Night

The star of today’s post (sorry pun intended) is the starfish (or the sea star)! Now you might be wondering why a starfish is so unique, but did you know that starfish can regrow body parts? They can even regrow their entire body from one leg and a piece of the main body! This is why researchers have been studying them for wound healing and tissue regeneration. They looked at the grey sand star (“Luidia foliolata”) and saw that their larvae can be cut in half and both pieces can regenerate into a whole larva.

One of the genes they found is the sea star regeneration-associated protease gene (or “srap”). This gene looks similar to the plasmin gene in humans that is involved in embryo development and wound healing. This makes researchers interested in looking at medical application in humans. Imagine if we could regrow limbs! But this is very complicated, and understandably research is slow so it will be a long time (if ever) before humans have the same regeneration capabilities as a starfish.

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