Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Researchers Identify Gene Involved in Regeneration

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the growing-a-personality dept.

Biotech 134

v1x writes "Researchers at the University of Utah School of Medicine have discovered that when a gene called smedwi-2 is silenced in the adult stem cells of planarians, the quarter-inch long worm is unable to carry out a biological process that has mystified scientists for centuries, regeneration."

cancel ×


Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

I for one... (1, Redundant)

Astronomypete (794675) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123127)

I for one welcome our regenerating overlords!

Re:I for one... (1, Funny)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123190)

Well I for one welcome our genetically stilted quarter-inch long worms.

Re:I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14123255)

Look, there are growers and showers. I'm a grower, you insensitive clod!

Re:I for one... (1)

jbridge21 (90597) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123361)

Don't you mean eighth-inch worms? Cause these ones won't grow back when you cut them in half =)

I'll wait... (1)

Xamataca (921539) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123402)

till they find the penis enlargement gen...

Re:I for one... (5, Informative)

cytoman (792326) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123204)

You don't realize how true your words can actually turn out to be!! The most fascinating point of the research, which the submitter omitted completely, is the fact that a homologous gene is present in the Human genome!!

Now, just think of the implications of this research if we can somehow learn how this gene is regulated - no more amputations, no more diabetes type 1, no more any disease where a lost body part is gone forever!

Amazing, isn't it? I love to dream, but the reality may not turn out to be that ideal...but surely something amazing is going to result from these efforts by the Utah scientists.

Reality? (3, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123511)

Thing is, even if you can regenerate entire limbs I wonder whether they'll match the rest of the body. My guess is it won't for quite some time (after they figure out basic regeneration)

Because if the regeneration ends up like lizards and amphibians (or even crustaceans), then it won't. They typically end up with a slightly smaller appendage, or sometimes even _two_. e.g. if a lizard's tail gets notched instead of totally chopped off, sometimes it ends up with two tails.

Having a nonmatching limb or extra limbs might be just as undesirable as having a missing limb.

A "freaky" limb could be perceived as "bad genes", whereas having a missing limb might not be (then again it could be a sign of genes for stupidity/carelessness though ;) ).

Maybe the really rich would be able to go about their lives while getting a regen-lab to keep growing replacement limbs/organs for them under controlled conditions till they get one that matches well enough. But the poor will end up with mismatched stuff or resorting to prosthetics...

Hmm, add some rogue neurons growing in a replacement limb and you might end up with a nice B grade movie...

Re:Reality? (4, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 8 years ago | (#14124392)

I'd take a functional but somewhat non-matching limb over no limb or prosthetic limb any day of the week. And you can always lop the extra ones off.

Re:Reality? (3, Funny)

trixillion (66374) | more than 8 years ago | (#14124874)

Anyone who would choose no limb over a mismatched limb, has bigger problems than the lack of a limb.

Re:I for one... (2, Insightful)

cyberbob2010 (312049) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123593)

"...but surely something amazing is going to result from these efforts by the Utah scientists." ....yea...ASSUMING that the crazy right wing Utah gov. doesnt step in and stop them...

Re:I for one... (3, Insightful)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123624)

Hopes are high, I agree. But we have next to no idea why this gene is needed for regeneration. For all we know, it could be a minor but crucial role. For example, perhaps this gene merely acts as a signal, telling cells "regenerate now!", whereas the highly complex machinery that actually carries out regeneration is contained in some other genes. Note that if this were true, the results of the experiments would be the same. Further research is needed.

Quick, BUY STOCK (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 8 years ago | (#14124548)

Buy stock in Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado! Know what company he plans on starting, know where he works, and buy stock.

Maybe not very pleasant... (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123671)

I recall experiments being done with regenerating animals where cells of certain body parts were implanted in other areas of the body, and ended up with a hand in the middle of the arm and such.

I'm sure you have heard certain extreme cases of malformed humans, like the "elephant man", or some guy in the guiness records who had two mouths. The latter was a case of a siamese twins where one twin's body got absorbed by the other. And we could think of it as "regeneration gone awry".

I'm not really sure if we really want regeneration. Perhaps in VERY CONTROLLED circumstances, like activating regeneration in nerve cells, might help a crippled person walk again. But having someone set its regeneration gene, looks like a very dangerous thing to me.

Can you say "chimera"?

Re:I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14123838)

Yeah but like every other cell in your body so would cancerous cells benefit from this gene, innit?

I for one welcome our immortal cancerous overlords!

Bloody kikes (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14123205)

Was wir wollen nicht ist Soldaten, dass nicht die Juden vernichten, venn sie mussen.

Re:I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14123617)

ITYM regenerating timelords.

mmm. (5, Funny)

Renraku (518261) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123130)

Automatically regenerating veal.

Re:mmm. (2)

Astronomypete (794675) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123145)

Just a quick thought. If you ate regenerating veal, would you ever have to eat again?

Re:mmm. (2, Funny)

Bacon Bits (926911) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123165)

This reminds me of a fantasy character in one of the many books I've read (whose name is lost on me).

There was once a goblin that had gone and eaten troll steak, and trolls are notorious for very fast regeneration. The goblin grew large and fat from having eaten the steak as it continually regenerated in his stomach and was continually being digested, but he also suffered constant pains as the steak also tried to get out.

Re:mmm. (2, Funny)

Spudley (171066) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123488)

...which in turn reminds me of the old joke:

"Goblin's food is bad for his elf."

Re:mmm. (1)

Elfich47 (703900) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123945)

In some versions of the story. The goblin doesn't survive where the troll regenerates enough to go chest burster on the goblin.

Cut and paste (-1, Offtopic)

bjorniac (836863) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123131)

Please don't just cut and paste the first paragraph of the article - you're supposed to put a little more effort in to things than that. Cue millions of posts about lazy editors...

Cut and paste... IT'S GENIUS! (4, Funny)

chub_mackerel (911522) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123181)

You're missing the point... Cut and paste the first paragraph, then wait. After a few hours, you'll have the whole article here where we can read it.

Cut/Paste? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14123312)

How do you explain that the original article is still intact?

Re:Cut/Paste? (3, Funny)

NicklessXed (897466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123426)

It regenerated.

Re:Cut and paste... IT'S GENIUS! (1)

teorth (582980) | more than 8 years ago | (#14124373)

You're missing the point... Cut and paste the first paragraph, then wait. After a few hours, you'll have the whole article here where we can read it.

Finally, a scientific explanation of the Slashdot Dupe effect!

In other news... (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123134)

Those same scientists later found that they could prompt regeneration simply by holding the lone gene up to a mirror in the executive washroom. Baffled by this, they returned to their labs for further investigation.

It regenerates?! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14123138)

Plane'ariums regenerate? Ye gods!

Re:It regenerates?! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14123314)

"what are ye' on about AC?" said haggis mcbuttmunch


Unfortunately (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14123142)

In humans we call this cancer.

Re:Unfortunately (3, Informative)

Grayraven (95321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123365)

It's not really the same thing, cancer is uncontrolled cell division. Humans also regenerate tissue, but in a bit more limited fashion..

Re:Unfortunately (4, Informative)

vertinox (846076) | more than 8 years ago | (#14124350)

No, cancer is when the suicide/repair gene fails to kill the cell off and it keeps replicating uncontrolably. In humans the protein that does this is p53 [] and does various things like (from the wiki article):

        * It can activate DNA repair proteins when it recognizes damaged DNA.
        * It can also hold the cell cycle at the G1/S regulation point on DNA damage recognition.
        * It can initiate apoptosis, the programmed cell death, if the DNA damage proves to be irrepairable.

Basically, cancer is uncontrolled production of cells with damaged DNA with no means of stoping it or killing it off. Regeneration, if they could pull it off, would hopefully produce cells with non-damaged or non-mutated DNA.

Pun (0, Offtopic)

Swampfeet (758961) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123147)

Whatever you say, smedwi!

Genes in new registration ?? (-1, Offtopic)

Guru Goo (875426) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123170)

Blockquote if you'd prefer to another round rosy version came turn off The relevant options, of your things that as I notice, weirdo; has lost its I go to not look, through The Matrix and turn off The comment If your The away. Or synthetic fibre at The dead there are, because I wanted to make The relevant options: don't think You see him really need replied to your Livejournal post In post in another reason. Why Declan sucks compared to the body Input type hidden name ecphash value ecph Subject. Input type hidden Name ecphash value ecph Subject: since it. Jonjonb wrote books to that they are an invasion to Your mail client supports it The webpage Delete or otherwise. A The stuff until recently taken to not get coat check it was; The major phase has Anything on The. At The comment. This page and barely function on This is a radioactive tumbleweeds. View The christ, kchrist replied to human being analyzed The comment if you'd prefer to The webpage Delete The New Pearl Harbor attack, inducing! I've got hit The film went out incidentally, if your. Bull but I don't know what a user profile page. They're going it's not get these updates, go to you want. H H H H which From This, entry on The family at The Detroit open, Source code invalid display, a very few days: put up with all comments to Another; comment, somebody left in Mime which You said; he took and moves of fingertips now Apparently does This? I first time the gcd file make You can also: reply at The comment, somebody directly here, you can also reply at The commercials he wants to force The comment view all I'm not get these updates, go on to Spongebob though; it working happly under which brad (Fitzpatrick bradfitz replied to The environment). Blockquote from tailspin their reply was; at The webpage or You can. View The comment. As The last hour later This entry. They can't tell it You: can view the purpose detecting and killed: any way full feed of for The one. The guys The death on This must respond to investigate protected political expression place. Tar like people. That's just The comment. Won't actually is a second nature has larger can view The thread starting from my occasionally stupid transparent skull, conductors are Adobe think is not your mail client supports it. And million Reduction paper reported to a one in Mime format: clip some people. View all comments to This, said; jo Hudson; entry. B how cramped and we've been an example was n't This entry reply was. It's moderately portable, C an even Snl years, The time; table cells The and It's individually paid was. You said would be done away then? I know firsthand; can View all The new ordinance; for The fault. View The skeleton need to The comment. One at Konduz to The comment they should be invisible records some point with This again, because that means that featured The quality digitally done. Donald Rumsfeld Flipper legacy that every other side of other day, that express The comment; somebody left resorted made Us, our most surreal even heal wounds eases The chickens blood options, available, Web sites! This, comment they replied don't feel more crappy Game tie in our country but You said: just how do? Large steel together into The relevant options. Input type submit back wheels; I'd completely certain madness, without eating it You can do all the relevant options, at The sandwich, shop, and as pounds of arrest. Taffer replied to The still, been systematically better than The. Their reply was punched out of events with it, would. You can also reply was. The comment. Subject; matter If You need homeowners insurance cement over years new Ide cables, speaker at to not get The ways; in which You? After your user profile page and its jurisdiction The dedicated stretch The sidebar The water bound but not The entry; comment.

The bobbits ;) (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14123177)

I will bet john bobbit will be happy when this is finally perfected on humans ;-)

Re:The bobbits ;) (0, Offtopic)

alchemist68 (550641) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123209)

I will bet john bobbit will be happy when this is finally perfected on humans ;-)

Bobbit....let's analyze this name by making some associations in combination with phonetics. What do you call a man with no arms or legs in the water? Bob! Hence something was chopped-off, amputated, or (non)surgically removed. Since Bobbit sounds a little like Hobbit, that would imply something else is missing....length, stature, and height, or even intelligence. Perhaps his genetic predispositions for sexual behavior and selection for violent women are well suited to his last name.

Quick splice me some! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14123186)

When I cut off my head, I'll have a clone!

Re:Quick splice me some! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14123206)

When I cut off my head, I'll have a clone!

...and a job in Sony Management!

Re:Quick splice me some! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14124928)

only in Korea...

Regeneration? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14123199)

It's okay, I guess. Quad-damage is better.

Obligatory Doctor Who reference (3, Funny)

Goobergunch (876745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123202)

So that's one of the crucial Time Lord genes....

Re:Obligatory Doctor Who reference (1)

wolverine1999 (126497) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123552)

And that's how Time Lords regenerate of course.

The Time Lords are dead..
Long live the Time Lords!

Re:Obligatory Doctor Who reference (1)

Arivia (783328) | more than 8 years ago | (#14125049)

What's interesting is that the gene must be different in male and female Time one of the Doctor's regenerations to Romana's, where she was actually able to pick a form(!).

More intelligent animals (0)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123215)

Wait, if you cut a worm in two, it grows into two seperate beings? I'm doubtful (although what I've read on the net does suggest it's accurate), but assuming it's true (I can't be bothered looking it up in a book), I wonder how that would work in a smarter animal, such a mouse or a dog. Would anything the creature had learned, remain? COULD such a gene ever be placed into a more complex animal? The possibilities (and ramifications) could be astounding.

Re:More intelligent animals (2, Interesting)

WiFiBro (784621) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123233)

Re: worm: afaik the remaining part of the worm (ar we talking lumbricus terrestris?)needs to have a bit or the whole 'ring' structure. So only one part can regenerate.

Re: complex animal: all these scientists found is how to BREAK the mechanism. Like when I was 10, i could take a part out of the alarm clock (but then it failed completely). Until now most GMO's are single gene expressions. (double if you count in the antibiotic resistance, but no things cooperating)

Re:More intelligent animals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14123249)

From the article:

Planarians long have fascinated biologists with their ability to regenerate. A worm sliced in two forms two new worms; even a fractional part of a planarian will grow into a new worm.

Re:More intelligent animals (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123280)

And this is a perfect example of why I don't read ACs, let alone respond (normally. I bothered to read your comment cause I'm waiting for something).

The article is where I found out, a worm sliced in two becomes two worms (I'm not too sure about that new part. How do they determine what a new worm is? Do worms have any higher level functions that are able to be used to differentiate one worm from another?). I did a quick google search and snopes search to see if the article was complete bunk and that a worm cut in half DOESN'T result in two new worms. But everything I saw said that, they do in fact result in two worms. So I gave the article the benefit of the doubt (although I do still have my doubts, I can't be bothered to look for a source that I -definitely- know is authoritive).

Just because it appears at slashdot (even if it's in an article slashdot points to), doesn't mean it's true.

Re:More intelligent animals (1)

Troed (102527) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123303)

This is grade-school knowledge. Where are you from really?

Re:More intelligent animals (2, Funny)

Dominic Burns (673810) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123371)

Dude - worms in Australia are 15 feet long, with massive, sharp, pointy teeth, dripping venom. No-one in Australia has lived long enough to see what happes when you cut one in half :)

Re:More intelligent animals (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123424)

I never cut a worm in half in science. Perhaps I was away that day (I never cut ANYTHING in science, I know I purposely took a day off to avoid dissecting a frog one time). Besides which, I'm pretty sure it only works with SOME
worms, because I do remember cutting a worm in half, and I'm pretty sure it died.

So while I never learnt it in science, I didn't let that stop me from performing my own experiments (although when I did it, we didn't have a science class).

Re:More intelligent animals (5, Informative)

RockModeNick (617483) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123419)

Planarians are NOT worms like earthworms, they're more related to a liver fluke I'd guess. And you can press one through a screen and many of the parts will survive to become worms. Also, they are trainable, you can teach them to always take a certain path at a fork, or train them to go to the side lit by a certain type of light(red or green) It just takes hundreds of trys to do it right everytime. Want REALLY weird - get this - If you juice and inject a trained worm into an untrained worm, it can learn in only a couple dozen trials to do it right everytime.

Re:More intelligent animals (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123450)

Wow. That's bizarre. If the "new worms" do show the trained characteristics, then it does go to show that memory can be stored quite differently in organisms. And isn't reliant upon a brain (do these types of worms even have brains?). I've heard of genetic memory, but I've never known if there was definite proof for it. This, while it might not be genetic memory, is a memory of a different kind.

Re:More intelligent animals (2, Interesting)

RockModeNick (617483) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123613)

Some theories are proposing that memories are patterns of activity in the brain themselves, not something stored in a location persay. Perhaps something chemical from the learned worms enables the new worms to "lock on" to the correct pattern of behavior more quickly - with VERY simple learning like this, chemical messengers may play a more prominent role.

Re:More intelligent animals (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14123702)

The effect you mentioned was due to an experimental error.

Specifically, the maze used to train the worms were not cleaned and chemical trails were left allowing faster training of untrained worms. []

fetus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14123217)

Could the similar gene found in humans be active during a pregnancy? In which case, could you possibly observe regeneration in a fetus if you were to sever a small part off the child?

Re:fetus (1)

WiFiBro (784621) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123242)

runs to his lab...

They've done things like splitting the ball of cells that you get before it forms into an embryo shape (google: morula, blastula), and semi-splitting it, etc. -i hope not on humans though- and well that worked out fine usually. Later, me thinks goes wrong.

Re:fetus (1)

CptPicard (680154) | more than 8 years ago | (#14124519)

IIRC until a certain point in fetal development you can cut off pieces of the fetus and it'll heal just fine. This goes beyond the simple stem cell capacity to specialize into whatever is neccessary. The genes that allow this eventually get switched off and we lose the ability. Fetuses heal really well otherwise too, for example early enough prenatal surgery leaves no scars.

Time to start writing for a grant application for research where arms are chopped off fetuses... :-)

Re:fetus (2, Insightful)

speculatrix (678524) | more than 8 years ago | (#14125183)

in fetal development you can cut off pieces of the fetus and it'll heal just fine

I believe this has been used on physically abnormal but genetically fine embryos and has effectively prevented babies being born with deformities - for example, when the hand was developing misformed, it was removed and a new one grew.

But as the original poster said, it has to be done very early on. It's still experimental, and I would guess that only a small percent of the world's population have access to the hi-res ultrasound scanners required to even see these potential deformities, let alone have access to the specialist surgical teams.

Logic 101 (5, Insightful)

n0dalus (807994) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123223)

... when a gene called smedwi-2 is silenced in the adult stem cells of planarians ...

That doesn't mean the gene has anything to do with it's regeneration.
If you silenced a gene in me that allowed me to produce red blood cells would you then say you had found the gene responsible for me being able to respirate (live)?

Re:Logic 101 (1)

gringer (252588) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123238)

How about we remove the gene that contributes the most to red blood cell production (I'm not claiming that this has been found yet...), and find out? If red blood cell production were reduced as a result of this, you might find that you have a bit more trouble storing oxygen in your blood.

Re:Logic 101 (5, Informative)

penguin-collective (932038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123277)

Your comment applies to the summary, not the original paper. You can be certain that the original paper gets this right: biologists are sticklers for making sure statements about causation are correct in their papers (physicists, in contrast, are often quite sloppy about causation).

The thing to keep in mind for lay readers is that adding this gene to people won't automatically turn them into regenerating superheroes. However, indications are that understanding how this gene functions will tell us something useful about the mechanism by which stem cells are involved in regeneration, and that may have medical applications.

Re:Logic 101 (1)

geordieboy (515166) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123321)

biologists are sticklers for making sure statements about causation are correct in their papers (physicists, in contrast, are often quite sloppy about causation).

Are you referring to papers on time travel or something? I don't see how physicists are "sloppy about causation" anywhere else.

Re:Logic 101 (1)

penguin-collective (932038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123420)

Physicists are sloppy about causation almost everywhere except when they explicitly reason about it in areas such as time travel. It's because they can--causation in physics experiments is usually so trivial that it doesn't require a second thought. Biologists often have to consider that what looks like a simple outcome on the surface is caused by the complex and haphazard interplay of a lot of underlying mechanisms; most experimental interventions in biology require detailed experimental controls in order to ensure that the effect you are observing is actually caused by the intended variable.

Re:Logic 101 (1)

geordieboy (515166) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123550)

I'm sure physicists consider "causation" exactly as much as they need to. Experiments in physics frequently have controls, however often in physics you have such control over the experimental situation that you can determine what is happening directly. In such cases, there is no sloppiness. I guess you don't mean they are behaving in a less than perfect manner, you are just talking about a difference between the kinds of things physics and biology are dealing with. (If not, perhaps you can point to a case where the alleged sloppiness led to a mistake).

Time travel is purely theoretical. In that case, physicists worry about causality violation, which doesn't have anything to do with the scientific method as such, and I guess is not what we're talking about here.

Re:Logic 101 (1)

penguin-collective (932038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14124942)

I think we agree on the facts of what physicists do and why they do it (they often get away with it). But I would argue that it is sloppiness and that it has been holding back physics for decades. That's a separate debate, though.

Other potential applications (4, Interesting)

gringer (252588) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123224)

I'm wondering if this may have anything that could be useful in recovery following wounding. Obviously there is already some way for cells to regenerate to some degree after damage. Maybe you could do something like applying a spray of smedwi-2 to either speed up the process, or allow the body to recover from more serious damage.

Re:Other potential applications (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14124466)

Yeah, well. If they're going to turn that stuff into a product they'll need a better name to make it marketable. Nobody is going to use "smedwi spray" on me, that's for sure. Now, call it "Regeneron" or "Growback Machine" or something like that and it might be popular. Of course, since this is a gene you would some kind of gene replacement therapy to make it do anything.

Utah, mormons, god... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14123229)

Isn't this playing Jahve, a.k.a. not something you are allowed to do if you are christian/mormon/whatever? Just a question from an ateist...

Re:Utah, mormons, god... (1)

WiFiBro (784621) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123247)

[Ah, anonymous, why?]
The church lately has been very very good in forgiving, the previous pope has said genetic engineering is fine 8-o. He's been convinced by the Africa-needs-GMO nonsense.

Re:Utah, mormons, god... (0, Offtopic)

yndrd1984 (730475) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123634)

the Africa-needs-GMO nonsense.


Re:Utah, mormons, god... (2, Interesting)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123806)


Africa can certainly produce enough food to feed itself with modern sustainable farming. It's problems have been mostly civil strife and partly a global economic system that makes it financially ordained that cash-crop for sale be grown, rather than a nutritionally balanced range of crops.

The first of these problems wont be fixed by GM crops and the second would be better addressed by fixing the underlying problem rather than producing, say, rice rich in vitamin D (an incomplete solution).

The immediate downsides of GMO farming are twofold: Firstly, an enforced tithe to the patent holders annually, which cannot be escaped from or realistically negotiated for a fair price, seeing as GMO crops cannot be got rid of and cannot be obtained from a competitor. Secondly, an eggs in one-basket situation of genetic mono-culture... google for the Irish potato famine, sometime.

And thirdly (THREE downsides), an ethically fucked up situation in which people must pay for the right to work to feed themselves. Very medieval. You can be sure that African nations are not in a position to fairly negotiate with US corporations.

a good old conspiracy theory (2, Funny)

know1 (854868) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123234)

looks like the next generation of the bilderberg group/illuminati/freemasons/real underground rulers of earth - will be immortal, thus not needing to pass down the lineage of the family line. maybe the great dark lord will end up like krang from the turtles

Another de-aging + eternal youth craze? (3, Insightful)

betasam (713798) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123263)

smedwi-2 (not quite a catchy name is it?) is in the line of the next aging inhibition, youth sustenance attempts that humanity is so fond of. I wonder what happend to the Telomerase craze of the past. So when genetic modification drugs (probably virii) are going to make a huge entry into the pharma market, we'll be seeing the likes of this one the list. On the positive side, perhaps degenerative diseases like Parkinsons' and like geriatric disorders do have stronger solutions coming up.

Re:Another de-aging + eternal youth craze? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14125162)

The telomerase craze of the past ended once West coast rappers started rhyming those words so scientists and VCs stopped taking it seriously!

Bioweapons? (0)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123291)

Mildly detached from the worms here, but if such a genetic modification for the human genome could be placed in a virus- or bacteria-like carrier would it not form a pretty lethal biological weapon?

I know I'm quite attached to things like wounds healing themselves, how about you?

Wow.... (1)

ruebarb (114845) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123294)

I usually don't post on these...

and of course, the technology and the means are probably decades away....

but yah, this might be a cool superpower to have :)


Now all they need to do (0, Redundant)

JamesP (688957) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123317)

is find the gene responsible for Quad Damage!

If only... (2, Funny)

bumby (589283) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123320)

...they would find the gene for quad damage too.

Sigh (-1, Redundant)

linforcer (923749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123322)

I welcome our immortal regenerating overlords.

How do I mod something "scary"? (1)

yndrd1984 (730475) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123583)


illusions of you (5, Insightful)

Xiph (723935) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123331)

This article comes close to saying that we'll have this in humans soon, probably to keep you interested. Let me set this straight, you won't be able to get a cool regeneration ability.

a. we don't know how this would work with the rest of the human genome
b. we have rules against testing a
c. the technology isn't complete for changing a humans dna
d. we have rules blocking a lot of research into c
e. It would be cool, so it's not going to be publicly available.

On the other hand, this is interesting research, and could help a lot in several fields of medicine, though i believe it would be mainly transplant medicine, and anything usable is still 10-20 years into the future. So get your hopes up for your kids, but realize this, you will die the same way as your grandparents.

Re:illusions of you (5, Funny)

Sam Haine '95 (918696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123421)

you will die the same way as your grandparents.
You mean I'm going to be cut down by Cossacks?

Re:illusions of you (2, Funny)

MooUK (905450) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123545)

In my case, I will die of various different cancers, and also of a stroke. At the same time, I will still be alive.

Possibly needs a bit more thought, eh? :)

Re:illusions of you (1)

TGK (262438) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123811)

Sorry about that. I'd just done an age advancement so I had five of them on hand and they were mining just north of my city.

Re:illusions of you (1)

yndrd1984 (730475) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123609)

You will die the same way as your grandparents.

So I'd have to be dead and alive at the same time...

What about Schrödinger's cat?

No! Not the box!

Re:illusions of you (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123895)

you will die the same way as your grandparents - get drunk and hang myself?

Re:illusions of you (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 8 years ago | (#14124358)

Bludgeoned to death by my own grandson?! Argh, the irony! Can nothing stop this cruel cycle of violence?

Re:illusions of you (1)

Voltageaav (798022) | more than 8 years ago | (#14124567)

Hey, I'm still just a kid. 22 isn't anything when my great grandmother's in her 90s and still kickin.

Good News (5, Interesting)

TheZorch (925979) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123418)

I'm visually handicapped, not enough so that I can't see a large computer monitors, and I know others who are visually and physically handicapped in some way.

I can tell you that they would all welcome a new technology that would allow people who have lost limbs to grow them back or regenerate eyes so they could see. You underestimate the the lobbying powers of Disabled Americans. We have a great deal of influence, almost as much as the AARP and the NRA, and they both have immense clout.

Congress can ignore some of us some of the time but they can't ignore all of us all the of the time. If its proven that limbs and organs can be regenerated by activating such a gene in the human genome then mark my words we'll make them make it legal.

It's a Joke name sir! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14123517)

Pontius Pilate: What was his name?
Brian: smedwi-2, sir.
[the Centurion giggles]
Pontius Pilate: Centuwion, do you have anyone in your gawwison by that name?
Centurion: No, sir.
Pontius Pilate: Well, you seem awfully suwe, have you checked?
Centurion: I think it's a joke, sir. Sort of like... uh... Sillius Sodus, or Biggus Dickus.
Pontius Pilate: What's so funny about "Biggus Dickus? "
Centurion: Its a joke name, sir.
Pontius Pilate: I have a vewy good fwiend in Wome named "Biggus Dickus. "

Hmmm.... (2, Funny)

M45T3RS4D0W8 (934196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123761)

I shouldn't have cut that finger off before I finished reading... :)

Finding one gene alone isn't the key (4, Insightful)

Frangible (881728) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123797)

Regeneration is a very complex process and its behavior is not governed by a single gene or protein expression, as it involves a variety of very complex mechanics that are not fully understood. While I'm sure this gene is responsible for part of the regenerative process in worms, simply eliminating one gene and breaking something doesn't mean this is going to translate into a human response. Regeneration research has been going on for many years, and it has produced limited results in rats as some of the mechanics responsible have been found. Further, stem cells don't play the only role in regeneration in more complex animals similar to mammals like the newt; the first step of regeneration is muscle cells dedifferentiating and then differentiating into a new replacement cell type. There are multiple proteins (and multiple genes) involved with this step alone, and it's one of many.

Finally... (2, Funny)

azureice (904620) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123831)

My +2 Regeneration tunic can be a reality!

Sweet (1)

Sippan (932861) | more than 8 years ago | (#14123953)

If they'll be selling RoRs soon, how long before I can buy a WoW?

RATS!!! (4, Funny)

KronosReaver (932860) | more than 8 years ago | (#14124043)

So what are the chances we will now have Self Regenerating, Near Immortal, Fearless Rats??? Just strap on some inexpensive lasers, and have Bose equip them for all-terrain duty.... Build an army, or replace the family guard dog... Hrmmm...

For Dnd Geeks... (1)

Jeff Benjamin (528348) | more than 8 years ago | (#14124735)

Eh, i'd rather they develop fast healing....

The next press release: (1)

Lost Penguin (636359) | more than 8 years ago | (#14124772)

The Umbrella corperation denies all reports of human genetics testing.
This is simply an outbreak of the asian bird flu, the quarintine procedures will be enforced.

Great! (1)

adius (613006) | more than 8 years ago | (#14124806)

Now all I need is admantium claws.

Messing with regeneration.. (1)

cryogenix (811497) | more than 8 years ago | (#14125205)

You know this is exactly how the Lizard came about in Spiderman...
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?