Pleurodeles waltl salamander genome unlock secret of regeneration

The Salamander genome provides clues about unique regenerative abilities. The Karolinska Institutet research team in Sweden ranked the giant genome of the Pleurodeles waltl salamander six times larger than the human genome. A family of genes gives clues about the ability of regeneration of complex tissues.

The first sequence of the entire Iberian ribbed newt genome allows a new discovery of the ability of amphibians to regenerate brain neurons and all parts of the body. Among the findings are many copies of certain groups of microRNAs in which mammals are found in embryonic stem cells and also in tumor cells.

Tinuku Pleurodeles waltl salamander genome unlock secret of regeneration

"It is interesting to know how regeneration in adult organisms that reactivate embryonic genes. Need to do functional studies of microRNA molecules in regeneration and also link to cancer cells," says Professor András Simon at Karolinska Institutet.

Simon predicts a unique combination of genes within the salamanders and how other more common genes regulate and control the actual regeneration process is important in the abundance of stem cell microRNA genes. One of the reasons the salamander genome has not been sequenced due to technical and methodological challenges, the team reports Nature Communications.

"Only now is the technology available to handle such a large genome.The latest technology allows more efficient sorting," says Simon.

The team at Karolinska Institutet is now engaged with other researchers to explore new genomes and test new hypotheses through systematic comparisons with mammals that have been a major challenge for scientists worldwide.

"Ten years ago the salamanders were known to create all the dead cells in Parkinson's within four weeks, we are now going to investigate the underlying molecular processes. Our findings are expected to lead to the development of a new regenerative strategy for humans," said Simon.