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Regenerating eyes could be a reality


Key points from article :

Damage to the retina is a leading cause of blindness & humans cannot grow it back.

But animals like zebrafish can regenerate it.

Genes responsible for regeneration are also shared by humans but deactivated.

Retina is the part of our eyes that reacts to light and contains different types of cells.

Muller glial cells, a part of the retina, can regenerate into retinal neurons in some fish and reptiles.

"Regeneration is the default status and loss of that ability happened at multiple points on the evolutionary tree," Seth Blackshaw at JHU.

Mouse models have found nuclear factor I (NFI) responsible for suppressing these genes in mammals.

Inhibition of this factor allowed glial cells to regenerate into retinal neurons.

Regenerating potential is acquired as a trade off from their ability to fight off infections which can be disastrous.

Intricate exploration of these pathways is required to make replacement retina in humans a reality.

Study by John Hopkins University published in Science.

Temporarily reactivating dormant genes could allow body to repair and regrow retinal cells

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Private research university in Maryland, USA


Peer-reviewed academic online journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)


Professor of neuroscience, neurology and ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine