The Diverse Manifestations of Regeneration and Why We Need to Study Them.
Sasidharan, V., Sánchez Alvarado, A.
For hundreds of years, the question of why some organisms can regenerate missing body parts while others cannot has remained poorly understood. This has been due in great part to the inability to genetically, molecularly, and cellularly dissect this problem for most of the history of the field. It has only been in the past 20–30 years that important mechanistic advances have been made in methodologies that introduce loss and gain of gene function in animals that can regenerate. However, we still have a very incomplete understanding of how broadly regenerative abilities may be dispersed across species and whether or not such properties share a common evolutionary origin, which may have emerged independently or both. Understanding regeneration, therefore, will require rigorously practiced fundamental, curiosity-driven, discovery research. Expanding the number of research organisms used to study regeneration allows us to uncover aspects of this problem we may not yet know exist and simultaneously increases our chances of solving this long-standing problem of biology.