By Ramona du Houx

October 30, 2010

Ever watch a starfish regrow a leg, over time? Scientists at a Maine bio lab are working to understand how simple organisms can regenerate entire limbs and how to apply that to the human race. Using skate and other prehistoric fish, scientist hope to rebuild limbs.

These studies will be expanded as the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory works to complete a new building to house the research program.The $4.5 million project is being funded in part by a $3.86 million grant from the federal government. The new facilities will be critical in furthering the research.

“We still have those same genes as those organisms; we’ve evolved from those organisms, but somehow over the course of the years we’ve lost the ability to regenerate our own body parts,” said MDIBL Director Kevin Strange.

Construction of the new building is expected to be completed in the beginning of 2012.