TOKYO – Scientists have discovered the ultimate case of regeneration: Certain decapitated sea slugs can regrow hearts and whole new bodies.
This “natural wonder”, reported Monday in a biology journal, could eventually help scientists better understand and fight against the regeneration of human tissue.
Biology researcher Sayaka Mitoh said she loves studying Japanese sea slugs because they are small, cute and weird. They can even briefly photosynthesize like a plant getting its food from the sun.
One day, in the laboratory, she saw something strange: a sea slug had beheaded, and the head was still moving and living. Then a couple more does the same, according to a study Current biology.
So, Nara Women’s University doctoral student and aquatic ecology professor Yoichi Yusa tried herself, chopping off the heads of 16 sea slugs. Six of the creatures began regeneration, three succeeding and surviving. One of the three even lost and regained his body twice. Two different species of Japanese sea slugs did this regeneration trick.
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