It never fails to impress me how we are always one step closer to figuring out the human body. We’ve learned how to handle it with robotic surgeries and now, with even more efficiency. Scientists at Monash University may have figured out how to grow replacement organs.
The team has discovered that a protein called Meox1 is pivotal in promoting the growth of muscles. They came across the protein while studying zebrafish, which are ideal candidates for the research due to their rapid rate of growth and biological similarities with humans.
Meox1 directs muscle growth by selecting the relevant stem cells for producing the specific tissue.
Apparently, we’ve got some fish to thank this this groundbreaking discovery. For years we have understood the functions of stem cells–but never how they function. Grasping its mechanisms mean researchers will ultimately have more control.
Stem cells are also increasingly being recognized as an integral tool for treating — and even curing — a number debilitating diseases. Everything from blindness to paralysis to neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease have already seen breakthroughs with the help of stem cells.
With new knowledge always comes the opportunity to manipulate nature to our benefit. If it saves lives, then why not?