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Old 1st November 2016   #2 (permalink)
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Rep: Joep has a given some bad advice or info, or has behaved inappropriately
Default Re: "Firefly" Cell-transplanted A. mexicanum being made for the pet trade?

is it possible???we know about donorregistration!!!can u use any part,of any newt,2 transplant???i am not sure???
this would be a breakthrue in science!!!

Originally Posted by GeorgeAquatics View Post
These photos started a lively debate in a group on Facebook, and I couldn't find any information on the subject when I did a search here on Caudata, so I thought it might be worth sharing

(This is a cross post to one I made already in Axolotl General Discussion. I hope that is not a problem).

These animals were made by doing cell transplants on embryos (sort of artificial mosaics, I suppose) by "Strohl's Herptiles" and are apparently now being marketed as "Fireflies" and sold as pets.

You can see Strohl's company page here:
(I apologize if this link shouldn't be posted. Please edit or delete if so.)

Click the image to open in full size.Click the image to open in full size.


Do you think it's ethical to do transplants on embryos (or on living animals), in the hope of one day regrowing human limbs? What about for the sole purpose of selling them as pets?

What do you think about these being introduced to the pet trade, as happened with GFP (and now also NFP/RFP) transgenic axolotls, or of laboratory animals in general being sold as pets, after the experiment is over?

Cell transplants done on embryos, (like the ones pictured), when done for research purposes, are totally fine in my view, since the embryo apparently doesn't have the ability to feel any pain.

At first, I was under the impression that these ones in these photos were made for research or educational purposes, and were only now being sold as pets, having served their purpose in the lab, but I wondered how laboratory test subjects could have ended up in the hands of a professional reptile and amphibian breeder, if they hadn't been intended for selling.

I joked that maybe a high school science teacher had decided to go "Breaking Bad" on the side.

It seems like the "Breaking Axolotl" theory might not be so far fetched after all. It looks like Strohl is in fact some sort of science teacher.


"Strohl's Herptiles:
Most mosaics are random "accidents". This one is the result of some very careful embryonic cell manipulation.
Like Reply 3 June 10 at 11:22pm
Elizabeth Wilson:
Ok, so you are saying this mosaic was created artificially in a lab?
Like Reply 1 June 12 at 11:49am
Rodrigo Portillo:
Like Reply June 12 at 2:40pm
Strohl's Herptiles:
Elizabeth Wilson Yes. A basement, actually.

I have seven natural mosaics, and a symmetrical chimera, as well.
Like Reply June 12 at 3:13pm
Rodrigo Portillo:
Strohl's Herptiles that's really cool, how exactly do you do this
Like Reply June 12 at 3:18pm

Strohl's Herptiles:
Its a process I worked out with my students and a lot of research. You have to produce eggs from two genetic lines at exactly the same time (or carefully manipulate their development with temperature regulation) to get embryos at exactly the same stage of development, then take cells or even whole body regions from one early-stage embryo and graft it to another before the cells become too specialized. Of course, there's a lot more to it.

Axolotls' extraordinary immune system, which accepts cells from other genetic lines without rejection, and ability to heal without scarring makes this possible..."

I'm still not sure whether these were made purely to be sold as pets, or if they served some sort of educational purpose.

I'm not intending this to be any sort of moral judgment, by the way. The Facebook group that I mentioned had all sorts of wild statements popping up, like: "This is playing God!" and "Next they'll want to make a human baby with one black leg and one white leg!".

My opinion is that since there is obviously a market for novelty pets, it's probably better that people have access to unique animals such as GFP and NFP/"RFP" axolotls and frogs, rather than ones that have been dyed or injected, although I'm still not sure how I feel about the "Fireflies".

I just thought it was interesting and worth sharing.

Transplants are also done using living axolotls, (for those who aren't aware), by laboratories, to study limb transplantation and regeneration for the purpose of (hopefully) one day being able to regenerate human limbs.

I think that the transplants which are done on living animals, (not the ones pictured here), are a bit grotesque, but as long as it's done using anesthetic, and for the purpose of research, it may be justified.

I'm a bit uncomfortable with the idea of people doing cell transplants, (or transplants on living animals, if it comes to that), if it's being done for the sole purpose of making novelty "designer" pets, although I still think it's probably preferable to axolotls and frogs being dyed or injected.

What do you think?


--- (Quote from an article on transplantation using living axolotls) ---

"Take One Axolotl:

The researchers first added a section of DNA to an axolotl so that it expressed green fluorescent proteins throughout its body. Then they transplanted cells from this animal into a normal axolotl, whose leg they amputated....

As the axolotl regrew its limb, the team tracked the fluorescent proteins to see what happened to each cell type. Despite going through a blastema stage and dividing, the muscle cells did not turn into any other types of tissue. The same was true of Schwann cells, which form a protective sheath around nerve cells. However, other tissue types were more flexible, with dermis cells also able to differentiate into cartilage tissue, but not muscle...

The team also grafted cartilage and Schwann cells from the tip of a limb onto the upper arm of an amputated axolotl. They found that the cartilage cells moved to their old location in the newly-formed replacement limb, whereas the Schwann cells were more widely distributed.

Previous research had shown that blastema from different tissues behaves distinctly despite the uniform appearance of the cells, says Jeremy Brockes, a cellular and molecular biologist at University College, London. But those experiments were not able to track the blastema cells in such detail, he adds. They also relied on using cell in cultures, rather than directly grafting them from one animal to another, which may have interfered with the cells' behaviour, Tanaka suggests.

Researchers will need to learn much more about which molecular signals control blastema cells if they want to adapt the salamander's tricks for therapies in humans, says Tanaka. For example, using the fluorescent protein marker, she hopes to track when particular genes are activated during salamander regeneration, and she is optimistic that regenerating mammal limbs "may eventually be possible".

It is important to discover how molecular signals tell a cell that its neighbouring tissue has been cut off, and what triggers the regeneration process, says Brockes. Following cells during regeneration is a start, but "there's an enormous amount to learn", he says...."

Salamander cells remember their origins in limb regeneration : Nature News
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