Giving us all ‘claws’ for thought, you can potentially turn yourself into a real-life Wolverine. If you want to flex your muscles and pretend you’re Hugh Jackman, scientists are working on a way for you to become your very own Marvel-lous mutant.
While you won’t be sprouting a pair of adamantium claws in the near future, there could be a way to supplement the human body with Wolvie’s ability to regenerate. Scientists are trying to figure out how they can unlock genetic “switches”, aka mutations.
According to Science journal (via Yahoo), Harvard University has been conducting research on the three-banded panther worm — found in the Caribbean. The three-banded panther worm can regenerate parts of its body that have been lost to amputation. Better still, it takes the worm only a matter of days to do it.
It’s all to do with a piece of “junk DNA” that can unlock the “master control gene” and activate early growth response (EGR).
Dr Mansi Srivastava, Assistant Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University said: ”We were able to decrease the activity of this gene and we found that if you don’t have EGR (early growth response), nothing happens.”
“The animals just can’t regenerate. All those downstream genes won’t turn on, so the other switches don’t work, and the whole house goes dark, basically.”
Realising what this could mean for us humble humans, Srivastava added: “The question is: if humans can turn on EGR, and not only turn it on, but do it when our cells are injured, why can’t we regenerate? It’s a very natural question to look at the natural world and think, if a gecko can do this why can’t I?”
“The answer may be that if EGR is the power switch, we think the wiring is different. What EGR is talking to in human cells may be different than what it is talking to in the three-banded panther worm.”
Wolverine’s healing power makes him one of the most powerful mutants in Marvel’s world of the X-Men and a guy you really wouldn’t want to go against in a fight. Over the years, we’ve seen the clawed Canadian survive a brush with death on numerous occasions.
Imagine losing a limb or being in a potentially life-threatening situation, only to have your body heal itself overnight. Ok, so this isn’t quite Wolverine’s instantaneous healing, but the possibilities are endless. What’s next, will our skin be turning blue and we develop the ability to shapeshift like Mystique?
[Featured Image: Marvel Comics/20th Century Fox]