In the early 2000s, Manjong Han, Xiaodang Yang, Jennifer Farrington, and Ken Muneoka investigated how genes and proteins in fetal mice (Mus musculus) influenced those fetal mice to regenerate severed toes at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. The group used hind limbs from mice to show how the gene Msx1 (Homeobox 7) functions in regenerating amputated digits. The researchers showed that in the process of regenerating digit tips, Msx1 genes make products that regulate or influence other genes, such as the Bone Morphogenetic Protein 4 gene (BMP4 gene), to produce proteins, such as the BMP4 proteins. The researchers also showed that BMP4 proteins, which are produced from the BMP4 gene, function in tissues during the process of limb development. Furthermore, while Msx1 genes regulate other genes during the process of regeneration, they don't produce proteins otherwise needed to organize cells in the regeneration of digit tissues. The group published their results in 2003 as Digit Regeneration Is Regulated by Msx1 and BMP4 in Fetal Mice.

In 2012, a team of scientists across the US conducted an experiment to find the mechanism that allowed a group of flatworms, planarians, to regenerate any body part. The group included Danielle Wenemoser, Sylvain Lapan, Alex Wilkinson, George Bell, and Peter Reddien. They aimed to identify genes that are expressed by planarians in response to wounds that initiated a regenerative mechanism. The researchers determined several genes as important for tissue regeneration. The investigation helped scientists explain how regeneration is initiated and describe the overall regenerative mechanism of whole organisms.

Regeneration is a fascinating phenomenon. The fact that many organisms have the capacity to regenerate lost parts and even remake complete copies of themselves is difficult to fathom; so difficult, in fact, that for a very long time people were reluctant to believe regeneration actually took place. It seemed unbelievable that some organisms could re-grow lost limbs, organs, and other body parts. If only we could do the same! Unfortunately, our regenerative capacities are limited to hair, nails, and skin, while the liver and a few other tissues display more restricted regenerative abilities. What if we could grow back lost limbs, or damaged organs? This question has inspired many stories, dating back to Greek mythology, wherein Prometheus was doomed to regenerate his liver after it had been devoured by birds. Regeneration has permeated many imaginations; it has appeared in many literary and religious texts, and has also provoked much interest from the scientific community.

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