Regeneration of the Forelimb of the Salamander, Triturus viridescens, and the Adult Frog, Rana pipiens
Project yourself into the emergency room of a hospital in the not too distant future. A four year old girl is swiftly carried in after having her hand caught in a closing car door, and four of her fingers are missing. After a barrage of extensive and expedient treatment, the girl is soon released with her hand in a bandage. Following a period of a few short weeks, the bandages are removed to reveal the rudiments of newly growing fingers which in a short time will completely replace, in structure and function, her missing fingers. Sound sensational? Today, yes, but tomorrow maybe not, due to the intensive investigations and research focusing around the regeneration of body parts. In fact, someday the above episode may be as common and successful as an ordinary cornea transplant of today. Men of all ages have been intrigued by the processes and problems regarding regeneration, and have long speculated as to its’ main mysteries of how and why. Actually, the most distinguishing characteristic of organic matter is regeneration, belonging to the entire living kingdom, regeneration may be defined as the reproduction, or natural restoration, of parts of an organism lost through injury. In its essense, regeneration is the displaying of universal properties of all organisms -- namely growth and differentiation.