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Fish Model Roundup

April 28, 2006

Nature has given some animals some pretty cool tricks, like the ability to regrow limbs and go without oxygen for months. Scientists think understanding those abilities might lead to medical advances for people.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
Medical help from fish. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Sea creatures have managed to solve some problems that we humans still endure. Take the brittlestar. Scientists at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences are trying to figure out how it can quickly regenerate lost limbs. They know stem cells are a key part of this trick, and think brittl,stars could help them understand how stem cells work. The goal is new treatments for spinal cord injuries and neurodegenerative diseases.

Another human scourge is heart disease, in which cells die because their blood supply is cut off, depriving them of oxygen. But the Crucian carp can live without oxygen a thousand times longer than other vertebrates. University of Oslo scientists are studying the fish, in hopes of finding new ways to prolong lives after heart attacks and strokes.I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.