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The blind fish that can be the key to patterning people's broken hearts

A species of fish that can make their own hearts is investigated by medical researchers who hope to use their…

A species of fish that can make their own hearts is investigated by medical researchers who hope to use their findings to help repair heart injuries in humans.

The fish in question is Mexican tetrafisk ( Astyanax Mexicanus ), located along the western edge of the Caribbean Sea. Their genetics give them the incredible ability to regenerate their hearts after injury, although it’s an evolutionary look that has given scientists clues on how to exploit this genetic gift.

The quirks came about 1.5 million years ago when the tetras on the surface of the water were washed periodically with flood water in caves. Over time, these flood waters fell and some of the species were stuck in these caves where they had to adapt or die. As a result of the evolution of hollow-deer fish, they lost the ability to regenerate their own hearts. At the same time, they lost both their color and their sight; These properties have become biologically redundant in caves that are deprived of light.

What the researchers have done is to compare the cave to their heart-matched counterparts on the surface and identify three “genomic loci” &#821

1; specific properties in the genome – as they have.

The research was published in Cell Reports funded by British Heart Foundation .

Two genes in particular lrrc10 and caveolin were found to be more active in yttetra. In the case of lrc10, it was found to play a role in the cardiac performance in mice and humans.

An area scientist believes can be a key to further understanding of heart disease, the surface fish’s ability to prevent scarring; After cardiac injury, such as a heart attack, human hearts (and those in the cave) create scar tissue to replace dead cells. This scar tissue then prevents a heart from performing its main work: pumping blood around the body. In the surface tetra on the other hand, the brain cells are rebuilt without scar tissue.

The report says there is hope that further investigation of the genetic makeup of tetra can one day help people, millions of whom suffer from heart and circulatory disease in the United Kingdom:

“Extrapolation from Astyanax Mexicanus can give clues to why adult mammals lost the ability to regenerate their hearts during evolution and ultimately lead to strategies to promote optimal heart repair. “

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