Do you know about the axolotl? This strange aquatic creature, native to Mexico, is not just a visual oddity but has an incredible regenerative ability that has intrigued scientists for years.

In this article, I will delve deeper into the world of axolotls and also explore their unique characteristics and the genetic makeup of Axolotls!

The axolotl not only looks cute and unusual – this Mexican caudate also has quite enviable abilities: Within a few weeks, it can reproduce limbs and even parts of the spinal cord.


The Special Characteristics of Axolotl

The Axolotl – a Mexican caudate that lives most of its life in the water; the Axolotl is already a peculiar creature that is visually not immediately classified, somewhere between newt, salamander and tadpole.

This is because it remains in the larval stage throughout its life but becomes sexually mature – this is called neoteny. This neotenic state is due to low levels of thyroid hormone, which inhibits metamorphosis.

But, if axolotls are given high levels of thyroid hormone, axolotls can undergo metamorphosis and transform into a more terrestrial form.


The Aquatic “Water Monster” with Unique Regenerative Abilities

The term “axolotl” originates from the Aztec language and translates to “water monster,” although the 25-centimeter-long creature appears quite serene.

Its distinctive feature is the gill appendages on either side of the neck, which resemble small trees in some species.

Axolotl Scientific

The Axolotl is an endangered species and its population is rapidly declining in the wild. While it can live for up to 25 years and has been around for over 350 million years, the majority of the species can be found in laboratories today.

One reason for its incredible regenerative ability, which includes the regrowth of limbs and nerves, may be due to its tendency towards cannibalism, making it a crucial selection advantage.

Legs and the spinal cord of the axolotl can grow back.

If an Axolotl loses a leg, it simply grows back within a few weeks. It can also completely rebuild parts of the spinal cord and injured retinal tissue.

No one knows why the axolotl can regrow entire limbs, complete with bones, muscles and nerves. But scientists have been on the trail for some time and have deciphered the axolotl’s genetic information.


Genetic Secrets of Axolotls: The Amphibian with Ten Times More DNA than Humans

The axolotl’s genome is an astonishing ten times larger than that of us humans – with 32 billion base pairs og Genes. This makes the Axolotls Genome the largest genome that has been sequenced up to date.

In a study led by researcher Elly Tanaka from Vienna, Heidelberg, and Dresden, several genes were identified that are unique to the axolotl and other amphibian species. These genes are active in the tissue that regenerates – which may explain why axolotls are able to regrow their limbs and spinal cords.

The research on the “Axolotl Genome” has really potential to lead to breakthroughs in regenerative medicine.

By studying the unique genes and mechanisms that allow the axolotl to regenerate its body parts, scientists may be able to develop new treatments for humans with injuries or diseases that affect tissue regeneration.

The Axolotl’s incredible genome is a testament to the amazing diversity of life on our planet earth and has the potential for scientific discoveries to benefit us all.

Axolotl’s Missing PAX3 Gene and the Development of Muscles and Nerves

The deciphering of the axolotl genome revealed that the “PAX3” gene – which is essential in the development of muscles and nerves, is completely missing in this unique amphibian.

In other animals, mutations in the PAX3 gene cause various disorders, such as Waardenburg Syndrome and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. However, in the axolotl, the related “PAX7” gene appears to take over its function.

PAX3 and PAX7 belong to a family of genes that play important roles in embryonic development. Researchers believe that the axolotl’s unique ability to regenerate its limbs and spinal cord may be linked to the function of these 2 genes.

Further studies are ongoing to determine the specific mechanisms involved in the axolotl’s regenerative abilities. In the long term, the knowledge gained from studying the axolotl’s genes and regenerative capabilities could have applications in human medicine.

Researchers hope to learn how to reactivate the genes involved in regenerative processes. This would have the potential to open-up new avenues for treating injuries and diseases that currently have no cure.

Complete Axolotl Genome Decoded

The axolotl has been the subject of research for about 150 years because of its characteristics. One of the largest axolotl colonies is maintained in the Molecular Pathology Laboratory in Vienna.

More than 200 researchers conduct basic biomedical research at this institute.


Axolotls on the Verge of Extinction in the Wild

The exact number of Axolotls that still live in the wild is pretty difficult to estimate – but some researchers believe there could be as few as 2,300.

axolotl poses on stone

The estimated number of specimens has been dwindling since 2009 and is currently estimated to be between 700 and 1,200 left. T

The primary reason for the decline in the population of Axolotls – is the heavy pollution of their natural habitat in Mexico, as they prefer to live in canal systems that receive sewage waste.

Another reason is the introduction of non-native fish species to the area to provide protein for the local population. These fish species, such as carp and cichlids, have become a threat to axolotls – as they feed on the Axolots eggs and young – this is further contributing to their population decline.

The majority of axolotls are now found in aquariums, laboratories, and breeding facilities.


The Decline of Axolotl Gene Diversity in Captivity

The Axolotl is native to “Lake Xochimilco” and other small lakes west of Mexico City. Axolotls are on the “Endangered-Species” list since 2006.

With more Axolotls kept as Pets in captivity than in the wild, including those bred for Japanese restaurants and for scientific research, the axolotl’s gene pool is rapidly decreasing in diversity.

Breeding efforts tend to involve individuals from the same population, leading to a decrease in genetic variability. This raises questions about whether the characteristics of captive-bred axolotls remain similar to their wild counterparts.


Summary

The axolotl is a fascinating creature with unique regenerative abilities and an astonishing genome ten times larger than humans.

The Axolotl is considered an endangered species – the majority of axolotls are now found in laboratories, aquariums, and breeding facilities, contributing to the decrease in gene diversity.

Scientists have been studying the axolotl genes and regenerative-capabilities for years in the hope of developing new treatments for human injuries and diseases that affect tissue regeneration.

Despite the challenges, the axolotl’s genetic secrets have the potential for scientific breakthroughs to benefit us all.


Dr-Orika-Mosquera-Lopez

Dr. Orika Mosquera

Hello, I am Dr. Orika Mosquera Lopez graduated from the free university of colombia sectional Barranquilla as a doctor and surgeon. I work as a General Practitioner with Experience in the Emergency Department, Hospitalization and External Consultation. I love pets, i have 2 cats, Bagheera and Nhala and one Yorkshire Terrier called Princess. I care a lot about the well-being of my animals

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