Scientists at the Karolinska Institute have sequenced the genome of a salamander, the Iberian ribbed newt, which is a full six times larger than the human genome. Among the early findings is a family of genes that can provide clues to the unique ability of salamanders to rebuild complex tissue, even body parts.

The team published its study (“Reading and Editing the Pleurodeles waltl Genome Reveals Novel Features of Tetrapod Regeneration” ) in Nature Communications and believes its findings may possibly lead to the development of new regenerative strategies for humans.

“Salamanders exhibit an extraordinary ability among vertebrates to regenerate complex body parts. However, scarce genomic resources have limited our understanding of regeneration in adult salamanders. Here, we present the ~20 Gb genome and transcriptome of the Iberian ribbed newt Pleurodeles waltl , a tractable species suitable for laboratory research. We find that embryonic stem cell-specific miRNAs mir-93b …