“Rare Mexican salamander may help amputee regain limb use”

In its native habitat in Mexico City canals and backwaters, the rare axolotls are threatened by chemical run off from greenhouses on the banks of the city canals, waste water from surrounding neighborhoods and non-native fish species that compete with the salamander for food.

The rare axolotl

The rare Axolotl

The Axolotl is unusual in nature because it retains its larval form into adulthood. In fact, it becomes sexually mature in its larval form state. This adaptation prevents the Axolotl from living on land, and as a result, it can’t colonise new habitats. However, it has led to the axolotl being quite successful in its native habitat, at least until the arrival of man.

The Axolotl is carnivorous and but has teeth that look like small stumps or cones. It grips its food with these teeth, manoeuvering the prey into position before swallowing it whole.

Does the Axolotl hold the key to regeneration of human tissues?

Scientists are genetically modifying the Axolotl salamander tissues, which according to ancient mythology is a transformed Aztec god, in the hope its ability to regenerate body parts will one day help human amputees. This slippery skinned animal topped with frilly gills like a headdress, beady eyes and a drunken smile, is thriving in the protected environment of the lab where it reproduces easily. It can regrow injured limbs, jaws, skin, organs and parts of its brain and spinal chord when removed

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of Reuters.com/article/scienceNews

Excerpts courtesy of Axolotl.org/biology

Image courtesy of  kierstinpry.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/9-axolotl

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