Researchers are studying zebrafish to determine which genes are involved in regeneration. If these genes can be found and expressed in humans, a damaged heart could essentially heal itself, speeding recovery from heart attacks and perhaps preventing heart failure.
An abnormal heart in her newborn, a devastating flaw,
one that this mother blames herself for.
Although the cause is unclear, she still cries,
and unaware of her own genetic code.
These vital genes, construct the heart;
the most important organ to life.
Distorted valves and chambers affected by Congenital Heart Disease,
lead to an unpromising future.
After the Burmese python gorges on massive quantities of food, its metabolism increases by about 40% and its organs enlarge: its gastrointestinal tract doubles in size, and its heart cells swell by about 40%. No new tissue is generated — the cells grow in a process called hypertrophy. The enlarged heart of the python is not unlike that of the human athlete, heavily muscled and extremely capable. Despite ingesting immense volumes of fat, the heart of the Burmese python never seems to suffer from plaque buildup.
The zebrafish model is crucial to gene discovery, allowing scientists to uncover important clues about the function of candidate genes. Because they reproduce rapidly and have very high reproduction rates, researchers have access to multiple generations and a large number of fish. Additionally, exceptional tools exist for genetic manipulation of zebrafish, making them ideal for developing gene therapies and holds much hope for future CHD research.
Researchers at Washington State University are studying grizzly bears raised in captivity to figure out how the bears’ hearts undergo such dramatic and helpful changes during hibernation. Understanding how the physical and chemical changes occur that allow grizzly bears to avoid blood clots and ruptured arteries could lead to breakthroughs in long awaited treatment for human heart disease.