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Australian Science Makes the Regenerating Mouse 762

FruFox writes "Australian scientists have created mice which can regenerate absolutely any tissue except for the tissues of the brain. Heart, lungs, entire limbs, you name it. This is the first time this has been seen in mammals. The potential implications are positively mammoth. I thought this warranted attention. :)"
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Australian Science Makes the Regenerating Mouse

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  • unacceptable! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by silverkniveshotmail. ( 713965 ) * on Thursday September 01, 2005 @05:19AM (#13452449) Journal
    ignoring PETA []: i wonder which organization will be first to denounce the use of this sort of thing in humans?
    • by wardude ( 724694 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @05:23AM (#13452466)
      The body piercing people are going to hate this.
      • I suspect the transsexuals will be the most aggravated!
      • Re:unacceptable! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Shaper_pmp ( 825142 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @07:56AM (#13452928)
        I dunno - would the body forcibly reject the piercing, or would it (as now) just heal up around it and only plug the hole when the piercing was removed?

        In the second case, it only permits more extreme piercings...
    • by Patrik_AKA_RedX ( 624423 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @05:24AM (#13452472) Journal
      The Union of Science Fiction Writers? Must be frustrating having your best ideas copied by reality so often.
      • Re:unacceptable! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by frp001 ( 227227 )
        As a matter of fact, I have often wondered about this:
        Are Sci-Fi writer visionaries or are they those that inspire scientists?
        Take Jules Verne [] for example, his stories sent people to the moon, featured televisions, subs etc... did he foresee what was to come, or did he set a goal for all those future scientist who read his books when they were young?
        • I think most SF-writers extend past advances of science and engineering to the future. Take television, at the end of the 19th century it was possible to record and transmit sound. It doesn't take much imagination to extend that to images. Subs aren't that big a leap either. A diving bell exists since the middle ages.
          I really doubt SF writers can predict the future, some simply know their science and can make an informed guess how things are going to evolve.
    • I think we will all give them a Nice Cup of STFU. There's no bioethics involved here.
    • Re:unacceptable! (Score:3, Informative)

      by ikkonoishi ( 674762 )
      Yeah if the animals regenerate it will make it harder for PETA to kill them [].
  • by richie2000 ( 159732 ) <> on Thursday September 01, 2005 @05:23AM (#13452462) Homepage Journal
    The potential implications are positively mammoth.

    Yeah, it means we have to aim for the head when the monster-mice attack. Personally, I welcome our new genetically modified near-unkillable regenerative mice overlords.

    That aside, I first thought they had made a computer mouse that generated power when moved á la regenerative braking in electrical cars.

  • finally (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rk87 ( 622509 ) <> on Thursday September 01, 2005 @05:24AM (#13452468) Journal
    I do hope this is applied to humans soon. there are way too many people on waiting lists for heart, liver, kidney transplants. Also, maybe this is a new hope for people that have gotten limbs amputated, or were born with defects.
    • Re:finally (Score:5, Informative)

      by Patrik_AKA_RedX ( 624423 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @05:30AM (#13452494) Journal
      Don't get your hopes up. Medical break throughs tend to take a quite long time before they reach a hospital near you. (think Duke4Ever timescales) Thing is that medical research requires so many experiments to prove it is really save for use on humans, before it is allowed to be used in hospitals.
      • Re:finally (Score:3, Interesting)

        by xtracto ( 837672 )
        Yes, I remember reading about some experiments (with excellent results) in USA, in which a man got his lost its thumb in an accident and after some days their re attached it to the man successfully (with some specific method).

        Then I read that, although all that was done as research, the FDA did not approve the method, so it ended being just that, research.
    • cancer issues? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nickos ( 91443 )
      It does sound great. I just wonder if there is likely to be an increased chnace of cancer with this sort of regerative tissue. Mind you if someone does get cancer perhaps with this technology the affected part of the body can simply be removed and regrown...
    • Re:finally (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ifwm ( 687373 )
      I don't. The last thing we need is something like this keeping even more people alive even longer.

      At least until we find a way to releive the stress it would put on the ecosystem.
      • by phriedom ( 561200 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @02:14PM (#13456408)
        Yes, yes, wouldn't it be horrible if all those people with reduced abilities or special needs suddenly had much great potential to be productive, or suddenly didn't need expensive support systems to just live their lives.

        The applications are mind-boggling. Of course the amputees are the most obvious beneficiaries. But one of the mice regrew optic nerves, that means quadrapeligics, blind deaf. Maybe people with MS, diabetes, various other degenerative and chronic diseases that pour resources into drug manufacturing companies.

        I'm only focusing on the money/resources aspect because it is the most concrete, and because that investment could be spent on making the planet more livable, or reducing the impact of humans on the environment. One could also make a pretty good arguement that curing a fellow man is the right thing to do in a moral sense, but that isn't my point. I'm saying that worrying about the environment is a luxury that many people who are just trying to survive and live their lives don't have, and if you raise their qualitiy of life, they may be able to start thinking about the long term.
    • Re:finally (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @11:36AM (#13454779) Homepage
      You have NO idea.

      This may save my life personally.

      I have slow, chronic kidney failure, originally caused by an over-active immune system. Now that it is damaged, each bit of protein I eat kills a portion of my Kidney, even if it is tofu protein. Eat no protein = starve to death.

      I am currently trying to eat a minimal amount of protein each day (40 grams), but is very tough to stay on my diet and even if I do this, my kidney still gets worse just slower.

      Luckily with this diet I still have time, possibly even 10 years till total kidney failure (assuming I don't drink, etc. etc). With any luck, they will either have gotten this to work or found a way to at least clone a kidney for me.

  • by asliarun ( 636603 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @05:24AM (#13452469)
    that succeeding generations will now be called regenerations?
  • by el_womble ( 779715 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @05:25AM (#13452473) Homepage
    They called it Wolverine did they?
  • Wrong countries (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zirjin ( 842301 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @05:26AM (#13452478)
    The slashdot summary says Australian scientists, but the article says "US Research Lab" and US based researchers. Unless there is some information that I am missing, I would say that this was a US breakthrough.
  • amazing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Polybius ( 743489 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @05:28AM (#13452485)
    Could this be used in conjunction with other gene therapy to reverse birth defects in people like ectrodactyl hands. Cut them off and make them regenerate as a normal hand? Or entire new arms for Thalidomide babies? Would someone blind from birth generate the ability to see or is that too heavily dependant on brain tissue?
    • Re:amazing (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jonathan ( 5011 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @06:59AM (#13452756) Homepage
      Could this be used in conjunction with other gene therapy to reverse birth defects in people like ectrodactyl hands. Cut them off and make them regenerate as a normal hand? Or entire new arms for Thalidomide babies?

      In theory yes -- most birth defects have no genetic basis (that's why "thalidomide babies" have perfectly normal children themselves) -- it isn't the information in their DNA that is damaged but rather the fact that their cells were misassembled during development in the womb.
    • Re:amazing (Score:4, Interesting)

      by MyLongNickName ( 822545 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @08:45AM (#13453196) Journal
      My question.... if other animals have this ability, and mice can be easily modified to have this ability, why didn't evolution produce this capability in mice naturally?

      Is there some nasty side effect that makes it better to NOT have this ability and put up with loss of limbs, and other damage?

      • Re:amazing (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Dasher42 ( 514179 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @09:53AM (#13453778)
        Remember, evolution doesn't necessarily favor the fittest. It favors the most readily reproducible. It's also lossy. When you rely on one major advantage to get by, others can deteriorate.
      • Re:amazing (Score:5, Insightful)

        by radtea ( 464814 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @11:00AM (#13454372)
        Is there some nasty side effect that makes it better to NOT have this ability and put up with loss of limbs, and other damage?

        There is another mechanism for dealing with major injuries: development of scar tissue. Scaring happens much faster and takes fewer resources than regeneration. There appears to be an anti-correlation between scaring and regeneration: animals that scar don't regenerate and vice-versa, so there may be some overloading of the genes that control both processes, making them mutually incompatible.

        Given that survivable loss of limbs and survivable loss of internal organs is a relatively rare occurence for most mammals, it is likely that scaring has been favoured over regeneration in our evolutionary history as it is the mechanism that gives injured organisms the greatest chance of survival.

        In particular, mammals lead active lives because we are warm blooded, and therefore need to hunt/scavange/forage regularly for food to keep our body temperature stable. This means that rapid healing is a big advantage, so scaring is favoured. Modern reptile are cold-blooded, and therefore can sustain much longer periods without food, making them more able to take the time out of their busy schedule to regenerate.
      • Re:amazing (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Gewis ( 717661 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @03:35PM (#13457304)
        This kind of research has been done before with regenerative mice. Mammals typically don't have this regenerative ability because we traded it for our deluxe immune systems: immune systems the regenerative mice don't have.
  • Finally! (Score:5, Funny)

    by kote-men-do ( 881870 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @05:28AM (#13452486)
    Now I can just retire and keep selling kidneys on eBay!
  • Mouseman (Score:5, Funny)

    by EnsilZah ( 575600 ) <> on Thursday September 01, 2005 @05:29AM (#13452487)
    So if one of those bites me do i become mouseman?
    Do i get the amazing ability to pee all over the place and crawl into small spaces?
    Or do i need to irradiate it first?
  • by phoenix321 ( 734987 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @05:29AM (#13452488)
    Since Australia already has a huge problem with billions of unwanted rodents, rabbits, rats and mice in particular, I don't know what the advent of zombie creatures will bring them now. Oh yes, they will never leave the lab. That's what they want us to believe.

    Not to be fearful again, but ahem, do we really need mammals that can only be killed by headshots? Don't these guys ever learn from zombie movies? Think of the CHILDREN!!! I guess it's time to zip over to S-Mart and grab a shotgun, because I KNOW some mouse will sooner or later BITE one of the scientists and then all hell breaks loose.

    Anyone seen Bruce Campbell lately? We might need him.
  • Skepsis? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Xner ( 96363 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @05:29AM (#13452489) Homepage
    Can anyone familiar with the pubblication in question give us any details? The claims are quite extraordinary, and I certainly would do a double-take even if I read them in Science or Nature. I just want to rule out getting all excited then finding out it's the Australian version of The Onion, that's all...

    By the same token, if these people go public with it they probably already have a preprint up somewhere. Anyone in the field know anything?

  • Am I the only one who thinks that phrases like "gained the power of regeneration" are more appropriate for comic books or RPGs than professors of immunology announcing research results? : )
  • by lxs ( 131946 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @05:33AM (#13452512)
    You see why open source is a good thing? The Quake 3 source hasn't been open for a month and already the REGENERATION upgrade has been incorporated into mice. Now let's all hope and pray that the QUAD DAMAGE code doesn't fall into the wrong hands.
  • "Scientists have long known that less complex creatures have an impressive ability to regenerate. Many fish and amphibians can regrow internal organs or even whole limbs."

    It occurs to me that anything that'd let your penis grow back and therefore let one breed more (excluding slashdotters) wouldn't be dropped from the feature list for more 'complex' lifeforms without a whopper of a bug.
  • So thanks to this new technology, I won't need to buy a new mouse after having crushed it into the wall when losing to some random FPS or RTS !

    Outstanding !
  • by Ztream ( 584474 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @05:37AM (#13452529)
    ..but I'm sceptical. Really, if this can be controlled by just changing a dozen genes, then why on earth do we (mammals) not have this ability already? It would obviously be a huge evolutionary advantage -- unless there are some pretty grim side effects.

    Sterility perhaps?

    As someone else here pointed out, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, and, in these cases, extraordinary caution. I'm looking forward to the results though.
    • by tsetem ( 59788 ) <tsetem@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Thursday September 01, 2005 @08:11AM (#13452987)
      Surprised noone mentioned this before. But in the Highlander series, if you were immortal, you could no longer have children.

      Think about it, the Immortals cannot have children, they can heal from any wound, and they can only be killed by being beheaded.

      Maybe the lines between fact & fiction might be getting a little blurrier...
    • by Jamie Lokier ( 104820 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @09:43AM (#13453694) Homepage

      Where do you think we'd be if older people who are stuck in their ways and have power and authority stuck around for longer, and retained their powerful positions?

      There are advantages in replacing old minds with fresh young ones who challenge the old perspectives. We love children for a reason.

      That is facilitated by death, and also by crippling injuries both physical and mental.

      These advantages are particularly obvious in our human social structures - for the time being, anyway. As an example, in the recent article about computers automatically learning language grammars, there was an interesting comment that linguistics won't move on until Chomsky dies... There's some truth to that in all of science, politics, etc.

      Complex social evolution does not necessarily favour health for all individuals.

      An interesting corollary to that hypothesis is that there exist changes to the structures of society, and changes to the structures in which we propagate knowledge and learning and questioning, and changes to the way we collectively think, which would adjust evolutionary pressures to favour greater individual health, particularly including the expression of long-evolved genes which we're carrying already but not using, like those involved in tissue regeneration and dare I say it, longevity.

      -- Jamie

  • Oversights (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 01, 2005 @05:37AM (#13452531)
    Couple of errors in the summary:

    The lab responsible is in the US not Australia, even though the report comes from The Australian. The paper isn't that parochial, you know.

    Also, it sounds like a serendipitous discovery rather than intentional creation. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

    As the work doesn't appear to have been published yet, my guess is that it will turn out to be a bit less remarkable than it currently sounds.
    • by Daemonic ( 575884 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @06:25AM (#13452682)
      it sounds like a serendipitous discovery
      Indeed - they just suddenly noticed mice were regenerating. For all we know the mice evolved entirely on their own to overcome their environment of scientists poking holes in them all the time!

      Of course, now all future regenerating mice, and possibly all future regenerating people are going to have the genes of perhaps one single originator mouse....

      <chant>We believe in one mouse, the rejuvenator all mighty - progenitor of mankind on earth...</chant> Praise be to squeaky.

    • by The Fun Guy ( 21791 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @10:40AM (#13454181) Homepage Journal
      From Dr. Heber-Katz's website [] at the Wistar Institute []:

      Wound Healing in Mice: In the process of carrying out an autoimmunity experiment, the Heber-Katz research team noted that in the MRL strain of mice, punched ear holes used for long term identification rapidly closed without any sign of scarring. Besides lack of scarring when the ear hole closed, a blastema formed and new hair follicles and cartilage grew back, processes not generally seen in adult mammals though thought to be part of a regenerative process seen in amphibians. The laboratory has been actively pursuing the identification of genes involved in this trait along with the mechanisms that allow this healing to take place. They found that the matrix metalloproteinases are upregulated early after wounding and just prior to blastema formation and that the molecule Pref-1 is upregulated late after wounding and just as the blastema is beginning to redifferentiate into mature cells. These studies have led the research team to examine multiple tissues that show the unusual regenerative capacity seen in this mouse.

      As my old high-school physics teacher used to say, the Princes of Serendip paid that lab a visit. Luck got the ball rolling, but hard work made it into something with potential. It took an observant, inquiring mind to note that the ear holes were closing, and to choose to investigate it further. Fortune favors the prepared mind, especially in science.
  • Does it have one button or two?

  • ...positively mammoth...

    Uh oh... bulding a Terminator mouse is one thing, but larger species are better left extinct...

  • by sidney ( 95068 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @05:45AM (#13452563) Homepage
    The Wistar Institute is in the US and the publication list on this topic at the lead researcher's page [] goes from 1998 to 2003.

    So what makes this new or Australian?

    Desquenne Clark, L., Clark, R., and Heber-Katz, E. 1998. A new model for mammalian wound repair and regeneration. Clin. Imm. and Immunopath. 88: 35-45.

    McBrearty, B.A., Desquenne-Clark, L., Zhang, X-M., Blankenhorn, E.P., and Heber-Katz, E. 1998. Genetic analysis of a mammalian wound healing trait. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 95: 11792 - 11797.

    Heber-Katz, E. 1999. The regenerating mouse ear. Seminars in Cell & Develop. Biol. 10:415-420.

    Samulewicz, SJ, Clark,L, Seitz,A., and E. Heber-Katz. 2002. Expression of Pref-1, A Delta-Like Protein, in Healing Mouse Ears. Wound Repair and Regeneration, 10: 215-221.

    Gourevich,D, Clark,L, Chen P, Seitz A, Samulewicz S, and E. Heber-Katz. 2003. Matrix Metalloproteinase Activity Correlates with Blastema Formation in the Regenerating MRL Ear Hole Model. Developmental Dynamics. 226; 377-387.

    Blankenhorn EP, Troutman S, Desquenne Clark L., Zhang X-M, and E. Heber-Katz. 2003. Sexually dimorphic genes regulate healing and regeneration in the MRL/MpJ mouse. Mammalian Genome, In press.

    Leferovich, J., Bedelbaeva, K., Samulewicz, S,, Xhang, X-M, Zwas, DR, Lankford, EB, and Heber-Katz, E. 2001. Heart regeneration in adult MRL mice. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 98: 9830-9835.

    Heber-Katz,E., Leferovich, J., and K. Bedelbaeva. 2002. Spontaneous heart regeneration in adult MRL mice after cryo-injury. Gene Therapy and Regulation. 1:399-408; Leferovich, JM and E. Heber-Katz. 2002. The Scarless Heart. Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology. 13: 327-333.

    Seitz, A., Aglow, E., and E. Heber-Katz. 2002. Recovery from spinal cord injury: A new transection model in the C57BL/6 mouse. J. Neuroscience Research 67: 337:345.

    Seitz, A, Kragol, M, Aglow, E, Showe, L. and E. Heber-Katz. 2003. Apo-E expression after spinal cord injury in the mouse. J. Neuroscience Research. 71: 417-387.

  • by shirai ( 42309 ) * on Thursday September 01, 2005 @05:55AM (#13452606) Homepage
    What's most curious about this is why less complex creatures have an enormous ability to regenerate but more complex ones don't. If it is a matter of a few genes, you would expect that random mutations would impart the self-regeneration trait onto us but evolution has chosen not to.

    I can only surmise that for complex creatures, self-regeneration is not only worthless, but is undesirable (since no complex creatures seem to have self-regeneration but many less complex creatures do). This, of course applies to complex creatures as a species anyways. I think I'd find it extremely valuable for myself.

    I don't know the answer but perhaps it has to do with the thinking aspect of complex creatures and how that affects mating. I'd be interested in hearing others hypothesize about this.
    • Not completely (Score:5, Interesting)

      by PengoNet ( 40368 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @07:21AM (#13452826) Homepage
      It just says that other pressures have been greater than the pressure to (keep the ability to) regenerate. Or the costs of being able to regenerate are probably prohibitive.

      The competing pressures might include (for example) a pressure to be smart or strong enough not to lose body parts in the first place, or a pressure to develop coping strategies when a limb is lost. Or the pressure to give food and resources to offspring, over attempting immortality. Or the pressure to have more complex tissues (even if they are more difficult to regenerate), although the article sheds a shadow of doubt on this last one. If these competing pressures are great enough, and more importantly, the pressure to keep the regeneration trait is low enough, the trait will simply drift away (randomly mutate) into nonfunctional genetic code. It doesn't mean it is completely undesirable.

      More "complex" animals like humans don't lose a lot of body parts on a day to day basis. And those who do, have their (evolutionary) fitness determined by their ability to cope with the loss, rather than by their ability to regain those parts.
    • I don't think there's any hard physical limitation to a body living for millenia, barring extreme damage. I mean, there are living things that do that already. But obviously that's not how most creatures work.

      One possible explanation is that it was just never important for a creature to live longer than it takes to rear it's young. So there's no evolutionary driver for it.

      And the counter driver might be that living too long causes you to use resources that would otherwise be available to your young.

    • by spineboy ( 22918 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @08:07AM (#13452960) Journal
      Certain cells seem to have a fixed number of divisions, before they are turned off(telomeres on the chromosomes, seem to shorthen a bit, after every cell division). Errors in this probably lead to cancer, and it's one of the theorised ways that the body prevents cancer, by limiting the number of cel divisions. Normal cells usually stop growing, when they arein contact with other cells - something to do with cell communication/contact inhibition. Cancer cells often lack this and thus do not get the mesg to stop.

      This will be very interesting to see what happens. growing a new kidney, or hand would be great, as long as it is safe.

    • by minairia ( 608427 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @08:14AM (#13453010)
      I am not geneticist or even a scientist, so if the following opinion sounds stupid, please take that into consideration ... I was thinking about that and have an idea. Imagine this a mouse in the wild that regenerate a leg after, say, a week. For that one week period, the three legged mouse will barely be able to move and when it does it will slow and shambling, i.e. perfect owl/stoat/dog/cat food. The regeneration genes will never get passed on to the next generation. A blind mouse would eaten even faster.
    • by Shaper_pmp ( 825142 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @08:19AM (#13453040)
      I remember reading something amany years ago that suggested speed of response to injury was the important factor.

      Lizards and "regenerating" reptiles generally don't generate scar tissue. Instead, in response to an injury their body slowly regrows the damaged part.

      Mammals, on the other hand, prioritise closing the wound to prevent infection - we very quickly form scar tissue which effectively blocks the wound to infection, but also prevents regrowing the damaged part.

      I always understood this was an evolutionary adaptation, but I've never worked out why mammals apparently have so much more to fear from infection than reptiles - is it something to do with our relative complexity, or is it a warm-blooded/cold-blooded thing?

      Either way, with our longer lifespans, greater ability at saving individuals with serious injuries and our modern disinfectants and antibiotics, I'd be prepared to swap a slight increase in infectability for the ability to regenerate any wound short of a headshot!
      • by Nicolas MONNET ( 4727 ) <nicoaltiva AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday September 01, 2005 @08:47AM (#13453208) Journal
        There was an earlier slashdot story about the crocodiles' immune system being studied to cure AIDS. It appears that crocs have a very powerful immune system, capable of fending off most infections. This is likely due to the fact that they've lived in very infectious areas such as swamp for millions of years, as well as having nasty territorial fights leaving them wounded very often. As a result, the evolutionary pressure for a powerful immune system is enormous.
      • Mammals have an adaptive immune system, it takes time for it to identify infections and generate antibodies. A slowly healing open wound might allow infections faster than the immune system can respond.

        Simpler animals often have a different type of immune system (sorry, I've forgotten what its called, see the crocodile story) that is less flexible, but much faster to kill off infections since it doesn't have to generate new antibodies for each new invader.

        I would expect that a good short term solution for
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The theories I have heard, as to why regeneration is switched off in larger creatures, boil down to this:

      1. Cancer -
      Enable easy regeneration, and the organism suffers from more run away cancers. With the need to keep a larger number of complex and different cells running as needed, damaged cells must auto destruct to prevent the rise of cancers.
      Free running regeneration leads to tumors.

      2. Hole Plugging -
      When a large creature suffers a large wound - the number One way for that creature to survive is simpl
  • by ciupman ( 413849 ) <luis.pinto@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday September 01, 2005 @05:59AM (#13452614) Homepage
    ... to achieve immortality. We are working for them and still don't realize it.. Douglas Adams was right!!!!
    • ... to achieve immortality. We are working for them and still don't realize it.. Douglas Adams was right!!!!

      Next thing you know, mice will be taking plotting every night to take over the world.
  • by pandrijeczko ( 588093 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @06:15AM (#13452659)
    Regenerating mouse = longer time to play with it before it dies and has to be eaten.
  • by amanox ( 862297 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @07:14AM (#13452808)
    When I was looking around for some more news on this, I came across this article: 7080356.htm [] Seems like the regenerative abilities of MRL mice have been know for quite a while. Seems like Professor Ellen Heber-Katz did the initial discovery in 1998.
  • Time to regenerate. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jellomizer ( 103300 ) * on Thursday September 01, 2005 @07:45AM (#13452884)
    My real question is how long will it take to regenerate? Mice Grow Up rather fast. But if it will take 18 years to regenerate a missing leg, or will it take a year or two? Or what about people who want to do body alterations could they cut their noses in half and make sure they dont heal together and they end up with two noses. Or someone with a serious arm damage. Could this cause them to have 2 forearms and hands?
  • by Chris Snook ( 872473 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @07:45AM (#13452886)
    As previously reported on slashdot [], scientists have also found it possible to replace blood with ice-cold saline, and revive the subject hours later. In other words, before long it will be possible to survive any bodily injury as long as you get medical attention before brain damage begins. With this, you can then grow back whatever was damaged, too.

    I can't find a link handy, but I know that research into preventing brain cells from dying after trauma is progressing nicely as well. Ultimately we'll reach the point where just about any non-catastrophic physical injury is recoverable, assuming prompt medical attention.

    When all that's left are death, aging (but we might be fixing that too) and psychological problems, maybe people will finally realize just how horribly we've been neglecting mental health for so long.
  • by Morky ( 577776 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @08:05AM (#13452955)
    My dream is so close I can touch it: _painting1.jpg []

  • by jrau ( 880696 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @08:43AM (#13453186)
    Other lines of mice are capable of similar things than just the MRL mouse, and even the MRL mouse has some serious limitations. For example, Heber-Katz cryo-injured the mouse heart and it healed, but other more relevant damage did not. Ischemic heart cells did not recover, which are those lacking oxygen supply, as in a heart-attack. Most of the other regenerations were not nearly as impressive, as several organs have the ability for significant regeneration anyway. Heber-Katz is known for her press releases being very sensational... and coming out before she presents her evidence. still, some of the papers she has released have some pretty cool stuff, just not as groundbreaking as popular news media would have you believe.
  • by jbeaupre ( 752124 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @09:12AM (#13453370)
    Us humans are left with the crumbs from rodent health research. We've just about cured all disease, cancer, aging, and now trauma in mice and rats. How? Billions of dollars spent researching disease and testing cures on the little guys. Maybe Douglas Adams was right.
  • "Makes"? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Have Blue ( 616 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @09:21AM (#13453462) Homepage
    The article has almost no details on how these mice were made. It also uses the words "discover" and "create" pretty much interchangeably. So are these mice the result of a deliberate experiment, cutting-edge genetic engineering, or a natural occurrence that a scientist luckily happened to notice as was the case with penecillin?
  • Great... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @09:39AM (#13453652) Homepage Journal
    When humanity finally sinks into evolutionary obscurity we'll leave behind a legacy of near-immortal supermice! Perhaps that what was what the mice were after all along when they built the earth...
  • by dptalia ( 804960 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @11:15AM (#13454538) Homepage Journal
    Am I the only person who has thought that this could mean more and more years of life for senile people? The only organ that doesn't get repaired is the brain - so if it goes, you're still stuck in a healthy, regenerating body. Talk about a nightmare.
  • by mattr ( 78516 ) <.mattr. .at.> on Thursday September 01, 2005 @12:25PM (#13455310) Homepage Journal
    Honestly, surfing at 4 and still nearly every post is brain dead, except the ones noting that the researcher is in the U.S., not Australia.

    However it is at he University of Pennsylvania (U Penn), which I believe is a different school from Penn State which one person posted.

    Google: Ellen Heber-Katz Wistar

    You will note that a genome screen was conducted at some point in time finding genes on 5 different chromosomes involved in wound healing and regeneration. The regeneration takes place by a mass of cells forming at the wound site that can form into many different tissue types, i.e. like stem cells. Indeed it seems (from a cursory scan of a few links) that stem cells injected into other mice also work. And this facility can be inherited.

    There is related research going on in different areas including observation of self-healing optical nerves, heart muscle, and even spinal cord once the scar tissue and scarring agents if that's what they are saying, are cleared away.

    It is being reported at a conference in a week but already Nature and other publications seem to be involved at least in the past. Wistar is famous for vaccine development too.

    If someone with real knowledge in the field could pop in now I'd sure appreciate it.

    I can say one more thing. Humans can regenerate to a very limited extent already. I know because my mother chopped off the tip of her finger in a folding chair (shiver) when she was little. The tip grew back with the nail, though I'm not sure if a joint actually grew back the way these mice did.

    The point is scientists never believed regeneration was possible even with such evidence, then views turned around, and now we have finally gotten to this amazing milestone. It is not an instantaneous thing. There is a paper cited about heart regeneration in the MRL mouse in 2002. They found the "healer" mouse in 1998. But it seems a milestone has obviously been met and it sounds like things are going to accelerate if more people can start working on the gene functions and biochemistry involved.

    Heber Katz' talk []
      will be given on Sept. 7 at Queens' College in Cambridge, England. The whole conference sounds very interesting, it would be nice if someone with a brain and some training could report on it to slashdot.
  • Forget using this on humans - think about getting this into production with animals. Imagine having a farm where you don't kill the cows for beef, you just keep lopping the legs off after they've grown back. Perhaps with enough genetic engineering, animals could be convinced to grow great slabs of useless muscle tissue, which could be 'harvested' when the time is right.

    I could also imagine the barricades and machine-gun emplacements that would be needed to keep the PETA activists out.
  • Mouse powers (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bar-agent ( 698856 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @10:53PM (#13460795)
    Let us see what mice have gained from mad science and meddling-in-things-man-was-not-meant-to-know over the years:

    Just think if they made mice with all these abilities. They'd some kind of race of atomic super-mice! I guess all that time as playthings of science had some beneficial effect.

    So, these atomic supermice could go in one of three directions: "Here I come to save the day!," "Same thing we do every night...," or "At last we shall have our revenge!"

    I know which one I'm betting on. Anybody else scared?

    And this last paragraph is so Slashdot will stop complaining about characters-per-line. I give you this summary of the excellent book, The Mouse that Roared:

    The tale concerns the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, a tiny European nation which "lies in a precipitous fold of the northern Alps." It was founded in 1370 by British soldier of fortune Roger Fenwick, under not altogether honorable circumstances. Practically the only thing that is produced there, and the only reason anyone has ever heard of it, is a fine wine called Pinot Grand Fenwick. Other than this one export, the nation remains happily isolated, a medieval remnant in the modern world, ruled over by Duchess Gloriana XII--"a pretty girl of twenty-two"--and her prime minister, the Count of Mountjoy (also played by Peter Sellers).

    As the story begins, crisis has descended upon the Grand Duchy in the form of revenue shortfalls. It is determined that the most effective way of raising money is to declare war on the United States, the pretext for which is the introduction of a San Rafael, California winery of a wine called Pinot Grand Enwick, a provocation that can not be allowed to stand.

    As Gloriana explains the aims of the war: "The fact is that there are few more profitable undertakings for a country in need of money than to declare war on the United States and be defeated. ... And in a matter of months, or at most years, the United States is first requesting and then begging its former enemies to raise an army to defend their own territory. It is not unheard of that these defeated foes are able to state the terms under which they will raise an army for their own policing and defense. Those terms have involved the payment of large sums of money by the United States, or the extension of generous credits, revision of trade agreements in favor of the defeated nation, return of shipping, rehabilitation of factories destroyed in the war,

God doesn't play dice. -- Albert Einstein