Booth Martin wrote:
empirically, that when starfish are cut in pieces and thrown back in the
sea, the pieces that include some of the central disk tend to not only
survive, but to regenerate their respective missing parts. The
starfish, while a much simpler creature than humans, is still a very
A starfish, though, is a type of "segmented" organism. As such, it has a
very different kind of complexity and its complexity is of a different
order of magnitude.
If you examine a starfish arm a fifth of the way out from the center and
compare to a fifth of the way from the tip, or almost anywhere along the
length, you'll see that it mostly just repeats itself. Such structure
can be easily recovered.
Starfish aren't useful models for this research. Salamanders are much
closer, because they've general structure includes differentiation that
has a pattern closer to humans. And they can regenerate lost limbs.
Plenty of research has gone on in this area, including initial
breakthroughs. But there's a catch.
This page covers things fairly well without bringing too much detail:
That was published just a year ago. Understanding and overcoming the
major obstacle will perhaps be of more value than limb and organ
regeneration. I doubt that it will happen within the next year, but it
does seem close.