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Scientists at the University of Puerto Rico have discovered that sea cucumbers heal better than most animals in the world by directing their healing abilities toward their organs first. Scientists have long known that sea cucumbers belong to an exclusive group of creatures that is capable of both healing their wounds and regenerating parts of their body. The finding is particularly interesting because, contrary to popular belief, sea cucumbers use the same kind of healing that humans do to regenerate and fix their organs. Said Professor Garcia-Arraras of UP, “Many people, including scientists, regard sea cucumbers and other echinoderms like star fish and brittle stars as bizarre, exceptional outcasts because of their regenerative abilities. But we’ve shown that they use the same ‘ordinary’ mechanisms and processes to both regenerate and heal wounds.”

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There are some wounds that sea cucumbers cannot heal their way out of…

The scientists first cut a 3-5 mm incision in the cucumbers and then watched them over a 4 week healing period. In that time, a special cell called morula cells moved to the site of the incision and accomplished full healing in a short amount of time.

The study is one piece on a path toward human limb and organ regeneration. “Sea cucumbers will probably provide us with the key to deciphering how to regenerate our tissues, or at least find out what is needed to do this,” said Garcia-Arraras. Easy there on the definitive predictions, Weapon X, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

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The University of Puerto Rico experiment has ethical as well as scientific ramifications


  1. #1 milkshake
    October 18, 2007

    Just imagine the “male enhancement” potential of this revolutionary finding.

  2. #2 Jenbug
    October 19, 2007

    Heh, serendipitous of this discovery to come out now, with the release of Bioshock a few weeks ago. There’s a mutant sea slug with regenerative properties at the center of the storyline, although it’s under layers of dystopic story trope.

    Plus, any scientific discovery that puts me *this* much closer to having tele-and-pyro-kinesis gets an A in my book-because that means roasted marshmallows anytime you want, without a stick!

    *wins a gold medal for Olympian leaps in logic*

  3. #3 Andrew Bleiman
    October 19, 2007

    Great comment. I heart Bioshock, but not in a gay way.

  4. #4 katherine sharpe
    October 19, 2007

    I like how you have a whole category called sea cucumber. 🙂

  5. #5 Drhoz!
    October 23, 2007

    why has Logan wired his genetalia into a cassette player?

  6. #6 andrew
    October 23, 2007

    here in the states, it’s what we call good times, great oldies!

  7. #7 Sheril R. Kirshenbaum
    October 23, 2007

    Thanks Benny! I’m so glad cukes are finally getting the attention they deserve!

    Aside from their regenerative abilities, products from these fascinating critters are sold as canine arthritis medication and supposedly have aphrodisiac qualities for humans (though I cannot attest to that). They also secrete a toxin like many echinoderms that I became sensitized to over time. I only had rashes before I changed my research environment, but workers involved in processing plants eventually suffered from respiratory problems.

    Why be toxic? Well, adult cucumaria frondosa do not have natural predators for the most part, so their toxicity likely evolved as a means to protect this otherwise sessile, slow moving animal.

  8. #8 the black mage
    August 29, 2009

    sea cumcumbers puke out there organs to protect themselves to
    that’s a weird way to protect themselves

  9. #9 miss sweetxox
    March 9, 2010

    that is sooooo werid
    i dont get it why cant things be normal for once

  10. #10 miss sweetxox
    March 9, 2010

    that is sooooo werid
    i dont get it why cant things be normal for once

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