Sunderland, Mary E.
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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.