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back to article Gene that allows growing a new head identified

British boffins say they have identified the key "smed-prop" gene which allows Planarian flatworms to regenerate any part of their body following an injury - even their brains. The discovery is seen as a step towards regeneration therapy for humans in future. Top bio-boffin Dr Aziz Aboobaker and grad student Daniel Felix, who …

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when they say...

"This would be preferable to removing a duff brain and growing a new one, as happens when a planarian worm's head is cut off."

I'm sure we can all think of a few people for which this would be the best route from A to B.

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Coat

"smed-prop"? Or...

... "smed-prep"?

(At least it wasn't "Smeg Head!")

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NHS

Seems exciting, when's it on the NHS?

What postcode is best?

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Where's the problem?

Why don't they just take spares out of the jar marked 'lunatics brains'? It's always worked perfectly for me...

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How about

Abbey Someone...

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Alien

Zaphod Beeblebrox...

...already did this...

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Not a good example

Does that mean that the second head will look like a bad BBC prop?

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It's about damn time

Wasn't this an obvious step or growing new organs/limbs? Hurry up already!

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Go

New brains, STAT!!

Given the level of brain damage in politicians, I'm willing to forgo further testing and clinical trials to get this implemented in D.C. immediately. Ideally, it should be started on the extreme wings of each party and work toward the middle. Once the House has been passed, it will go on to resolve the Senate. If it works in those two places it should work in any government suffering from craniorectal brain disease.

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This make me feel uneasy

Surely, playing around at this level could well cause cancers and teratomas (some of the pictures of these just make me feel sick!).

After all, it is a breakdown of the controls on cellular division that cause both of these conditions.

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Re: This make me feel uneasy

Yes, it's very likely that simply sticking this gene into a higher organism will just kill it with cancer, assuming it does anything at all. There's decades worth of research to do before anything useful can come out of this. Which, of course, is why said research should get started ASAP! :)

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@Eddy Ito

As far as politicians go, there's a big difference between having a brain and actually using it.

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But...

Having worked in Weymouth or Portland, you'd know that the two heads/six-fingers/six-toes gene has been in circulation for generations.

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I don't know.

"You insensitive prick, do you know how much that stings?"

Of course it could be the "killer app" of hangover cures.

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Those wild and crazy planaria...

Greetings and Salutations.

There is a classic book here in the USA, titled "Animals without Backbones" (and no it does NOT mention politicians anywhere in its several hundred pages), that has a section on the Planaria worm. There are a number of amazing photos, including one where the researcher split the head in half, along the central line of the body, then, after those heads regenerated, continued the process until they ended up with a worm with about 16 heads. The "expression" on a Planaria worm is puzzled at best, and with 16 heads it made it quite amusing.

Although it was published in 1938, it is still considered a great reference and textbook. By the by, it was also what my parents would read to me when I was growing up to put me to sleep...and THAT might explain a number of things (*smile*).

Pleasant dreams

Dave Mundt

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I expect El Reg

to start a poll on to whom the boffins should offer a new brain first. I have several candidates....

Henri

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So are we talking RAID 1 or higher?

I mean, I assume that this science would finally enable men to multi-task.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_to_Get_Ahead_in_Advertising

(another bad example)

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If someone blew their brains out...

...you could grow it back, but their memories wont be intact. You would have a functioning brain in a functioning body, but it would be like a baby's mind again.

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Two heads should be better than one.

At least you'll be able to have a good argument with yourself without looking stupid, and also to know you're going to win.

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