Study uncovers genetic switches that control process of whole-body regeneration

When it comes to regeneration, some animals are capable of amazing feats – if you cut the leg off a salamander, it will grow back. When threatened, some geckos drop their tails as a distraction, and regrow them later.

“What we found is that this one master gene comes on…and that’s activating genes that are turning on during regeneration,” Gehrke said. “Basically, what’s going on is the non-coding regions are telling the coding regions to turn on or off, so a good way to think of it is as though they are switches.”