Mammalian Regeneration Through a P21 Gene Deletion

ScienceDaily (Mar. 16, 2010) — A quest that began over a decade ago with a chance observation has reached a milestone: the identification of a gene that may regulate regeneration in mammals. The absence of this single gene, called p21, confers a healing potential in mice long thought to have been lost through evolution and reserved for creatures like flatworms, sponges, and some species of salamander.


Are scientists playing ‘God’ with this amazing discovery?  One might ask, though, why was mammalian regeneration of limbs was  ‘lost’ over evolutionary time? Wouldn’t that ability have been a life-sustaining evolutionary development?  After all, mammals without an important limb such as a leg or arm are essentially less likely to be able to survive.

Or perhaps God ‘forgot’ to turn off the P21 gene when Adam was being formatted.

Why would gene p21 be active when it inhibits such regeneration? When it is deactivated, the cells of those mice  behaved more like embryonic stem cells than adult mammalian cells and thus the re-growth of the lost limb. It was known to science that p21 acts like a brake to block cell cycle progression in the event of DNA damage, preventing the cells from dividing and potentially becoming cancerous.  Yet surprisingly,  these laboratory mice in the study showed no signs of cancerous aggression.

The top two photos show the healing of ear holes in mice that have the p21 gene, after five days and 35 days. The bottom two pictures show the healing in mice that lack the p21 gene. (PNAS)

Odd stuff. I wonder how a theologian might tackle this question.  Did God NOT want mammals to be able to regrow limbs? Did God NOT KNOW that gene p21 inhibits regeneration?  Or was it because Eve at the apple and we mammals are being PUNISHED for her ‘sin’?

Although p21  is involved with blocking viral infection of HIV-1, that benefit is far out weighed by this new discovery. The recent regenerative qualities of p21 suppression opens up a totally new world of hope to the millions of humans who have lost one or more limbs. Surely the many U.S. Military amputees lying in VA hospitals or learning to use prosthetics may see some flicker of hope that one day they may be able to regrow that lost limb. We surely hope so.


7 thoughts on “Mammalian Regeneration Through a P21 Gene Deletion

  1. Hello Muddy,
    It was Eve who first sinned by eating the fruit from the forbidden tree only THEN to temp Adam to partake of the forbidden fruit. This is why God’s punishments have a unique application to all women who came after Eve…..Yes it is true…..God has decreed that women have to sleep on the wet spot side of the bed when it is left behind.

    As far as using “Science Fact” being misconstrued as “Playing God”?!?!? Wouldn’t this just be using God’s blessings of “Applied Free Thinking Learning” talents that he empowered us with? Could this be no different than when God allowed man to learn to bang two rocks together to make tools? This is a Science Fact tool that, like rocks, man should employ. Not doing so would be the sin.

  2. EoK, I like the idea of playing God. I want to create my own reality.

    I want to live in a world with full employment, loads of art, health care, housing, public transportation, environmental consciousness, gun control, and all the other things we are deprived of because they are “socialist” concepts.

    My religion allows this. Not sure what I call it, but I want to be a part of one that believes this.

  3. Hello Laci,
    For the most reasonable sum of $20.00 (15% of which must be paid to Muddy) I can offer the religion of The Holy Oak Tree that is located on my farm here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The Holy Oak Tree will be glad to sanction that you create your own reality enabling you to play God in this aspect.

    Should you want to keep a European Flair, I am sure Microdot’s “Big Holy Rock” can accommodate your special needs.

    This is the way Religion really works……Right????

  4. Hello Muddy,
    As you know, I love quoting Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire:

    “If God created us in his own image, we have more than reciprocated.”

    Much like Laci said. :-)

  5. Ah, yes, gentlemen. The inciting yet dicey World of Delusional Religion. Quite the morphine of the masses indeed!

    Imagine, if you will, Big Holy Rock and Holy Oak Tree Churches United. What a concept! And, with only one set of administrative costs, the profits for such a joint venture would rival those of Jerry Falwell.

    Think about it because, as we all know, there are suckers out there just waiting to give their souls [and money] to us.

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