Building the body electric | Science News

Real Science. Real News.

Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.


Building the body electric

Eyes can be grown in a frog’s gut by changing cells’ electrical properties

10:05am, December 8, 2011

Scientists have created a tadpole that can literally watch what it eats: The tadpole has an eye growing in its gut.

Led by developmental biologist Michael Levin of Tufts University in Medford, Mass., the researchers manipulated cells in the tadpole’s gut to take on a specific electrical state. Those cells developed into a fully formed eye. Inducing just the right electrical state in cells can lead to eye growth anywhere on the body, the team reports online December 7 in Development.

Bizarre as the experiment sounds, it is a major step toward regenerating complex organs and limbs. One day, Levin says, someone who loses an arm or le

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now.
Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content